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Western North Carolina’s Source for Weekly News, Entertainment, Arts, and Outdoor Information

December 4-10, 2019 Vol. 21 Iss. 27




On the Cover: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has never charged entrance fees even though it’s one of the most visited national parks in the country, mostly because of the contentious transition that occurred when the federal government took over privately owned land to create the park. However, there’s nothing in the park’s enabling legislation that prohibits it from charging a fee. (Page 40) Cars travel bumper-to-bumper through Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Warren Bielenberg/NPS photo

News New maps, new candidate in 11th Congressional District ....................................3 Presnell out, Pless steps up as filing period begins ................................................5 Out-of-state money influences small-town elections ................................................6 Sisters form Pretrial Justice Project of Macon County ............................................8 Pretrial release program nears end of pilot year ....................................................10 New hires to speed child custody cases in Cherokee ........................................12 State releases 2020 economic tier rankings ..........................................................13 Haywood commissioners hear opioid update ........................................................14 Business News ..................................................................................................................19





Scott McLeod. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Greg Boothroyd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Micah McClure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Travis Bumgardner. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jessica Murray . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Susanna Barbee. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Amanda Bradley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hylah Birenbaum. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Scott Collier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jessi Stone. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Holly Kays . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cory Vaillancourt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Garret K. Woodward. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Amanda Singletary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Scott Collier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jeff Minick (writing), Chris Cox (writing), George Ellison (writing), Gary Carden (writing), Don Hendershot (writing), Susanna Barbee (writing).

CONTACT WAYNESVILLE | 144 Montgomery, Waynesville, NC 28786 P: 828.452.4251 | F: 828.452.3585 SYLVA | 629 West Main Street, Sylva, NC 28779 P: 828.631.4829 | F: 828.631.0789 INFO & BILLING | P.O. Box 629, Waynesville, NC 28786

Trump overplays his hand with military ......................................................................18

A&E Arnold Hill releases new album, offers holiday shows ..........................................22

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December 4-10, 2019

Etowah Mound largest in the Southeast ..................................................................55


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Thursday, December 5th • 4PM - 7PM Ribbon cutting with door prizes and Hempleaf Pizza by Fahrenheit Pizza and free hemp beer by New Belgium! Friday, December 6th • 1PM - 4PM Free first come, first serve CBD chair massages, door prizes, and Booda Kombucha sampling by Carole Bowers!

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New maps and a new candidate in N.C.’s 11th Congressional District


in November of 2001 that had authorized military commissions. So at that point, we’re almost four years in and no trials had been done. It seemed like every step we took forward, there were two steps back, with injunctions and court challenges which ultimately led to the Supreme Court decision in the Hamdan [v. Rumsfeld] case. Hamdan was bin Laden’s driver. The Supreme Court ruled that President Bush didn’t have the authority to create military commissions by himself, that if he wanted to go that route, he had to go through Congress. That just kind of blew us out of the water. Congress eventually did pass legislation. I got to work with, Sen. [Lindsey] Graham and Sen. [John] McCain on the Military Commissions Act. We filed some new charges under the new system in February of 2007 — the first military commission that had been done since World War II. Ultimately, in October of 2007, I resigned when some new leadership came in and reversed my policy that said we weren’t going to use evidence obtained by torture. SMN: Didn’t we get the name of bin Laden’s courier through enhanced interrogation techniques? MD: Well, that’s the argument that defenders of torture will make, that we tor-

“The court intervened and took another look at the map. The way it was before, it was a rigged game for Mark Meadows.” — Moe Davis

tured Khalid Sheik Mohammed and at some point he said something that implicated a courier and, lo and behold, seven or eight years later we found bin Laden. It’s a pretty big leap in logic to say that thanks to torture we captured and killed bin Laden. It’s a real thin thread to get from waterboarding KSM to the actual death of bin Laden. SMN: You’re about to run against a powerful, entrenched Republican congressman. In your press release you say he hasn’t been paying attention to poverty, education and health care in his district. MD: If you look at the data that comes from the Census Bureau, the unemployment rate on paper looks pretty decent. Then you

SMN: With the state having so much control over how education money is disbursed in North Carolina, what can a Congressman do to effect change that prepares kids for these jobs of the future? MD: Education is the cornerstone of some of the problems that plague this area — poverty, access to health care, they’re really kind of concentric circles that come together, but at the center is getting a good education. Education is primarily a state and local issue, but there is some federal funding. One of the things I think we could do is, I think there’s bipartisan agreement that we need more money focused on infrastructure, not just school houses, but sewers and all the other streets and things that, uh, are crumbling. I’d like to see those efforts focused on counties that have high rates of poverty. Broadband access is something lacking in the Western part of the state. If I can help bring funding to put the infrastructure in place and encourage the state and local governments to pick up and do better on their end of the bargain, then I think we can raise that education level and give kids a brighter future to look forward to.

Smoky Mountain News

The Smoky Mountain News: You had quite a pivotal role at Guantanamo. What was that period of your life like? Moe Davis: I came on board in September 2005. There had been problems before I got there. There’d been no trials completed. When I arrived it was under the original order that President [George W.] Bush issued

Moe Davis.

SMN: Part of your agenda is to create wellpaying and sustainable jobs. How does a Congressman do that? MD: We’re renting a house in Asheville now while we’re building a house, and we’re putting in geothermal heat and a solar power. Those are good jobs. They’re jobs that are good for the environment, good for employment and good for national security because if we’re energy independent a lot of the leverage that countries like Saudi Arabia have dissipates. If you look around this area, there’s a lot of solar power going in, but those panels are coming from elsewhere. I’d like to see those made here locally. The federal tax credits are being phased out there this year. I’d propose we focus on renewing those credits — not just renewing and sustaining them, but increasing and targeting counties that have a high poverty rate because bringing solar power and solar jobs to those areas.

December 4-10, 2019

BY CORY VAILLANCOURT STAFF WRITER fter months and years of litigation, a Wake County court decided Dec. 2 that North Carolina could proceed with the 2020 elections using newly-drawn congressional maps, and that there would be no delay in the sign-up period for the May 5 Primary Election. That decision has helped clarify who might run against 11th District Rep. Mark Meadows, R-Asheville, in the new district, which isn’t exactly a 50-50 split, but is much closer to even than previous maps. Dr. Steve Woodsmall, a Pisgah Forest Democrat who finished second in the 2018 primary, has been campaigning since March and was recently joined by Asheville Dem Michael O’Shea. The 2018 Democratic nominee, Phillip Price, said on Dec. 3 that he’d have some sort of announcement in the coming days. N.C. House Rep. Brian Turner, DBuncombe, had been mentioned as a possible candidate, but instead signed up to run for his District 116 seat on Dec. 2. Others may still jump in — filing for the seat doesn’t end until Dec. 20 — but the recent entry of another candidate promises to shake up the Democratic primary contest. Shelby native Moe Davis announced via press release on Dec. 2 that he’d seek the right to oppose Meadows next November. Col. Davis, who lives in Asheville, studied at Appalachian State, spent 25 years in the Air Force and ultimately ended up as the chief prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay until he resigned due to concerns over torture. He’s also served as a judge and law professor and has significant expertise in national security, which is why he’s made numerous appearances on ABC, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, NPR and Fox News. “I officially wrapped up my employment with the Department of Labor in September, and at this point I kinda thought I was going to be sitting on the back porch drinking beer and playing the guitar,” he said. “Then the court intervened and took another look at the map. The way it was before, it was a rigged game for Mark Meadows.” Davis, or Woodsmall or O’Shea or anyone else that ends up in the Democratic ring will still have a difficult time unseating a popular incumbent in a district that’s now less red but still red enough to favor Meadows. However, Davis thinks he’s got the best chance to beat him.

look at the poverty rate and it is significantly above the national average. I think any person that looks at that, you kind of logically conclude that people are working, but they’re not working in jobs that pay a living wage. Mark Meadows, if you look back at his Twitter account, you’ll see that he’s a prolific user of Twitter during the hearings on impeachment. He would tweet 40 or 50 times a day, all about Donald Trump. He never mentions North Carolina. He never mentions the 11th Congressional District. I’ve asked around, what can you point to that Mark Meadows has done that’s been good for this district? People are having a hard time coming up with examples. And I think certainly if you look at the poverty rate, um, that’s, uh, a spot that’s been ignored. And I think there are a lot of things that we could do that would help, uh, lift people out of poverty and get them jobs that they can, uh, support a family home.


Smoky Mountain News

December 4-10, 2019


DAVIS, CONTINUED FROM 3 SMN: And then there’s health care. In North Carolina we’re talking about Medicaid expansion. Is that the answer? Is it something else? MD: I think health care is a fundamental right as an American. No one should have to go without health care and no one should have to go bankrupt because they got sick. I think basic health care ought to be guaranteed. Some folks talk about Medicare for all, others talk about a single payer system. The devil’s in the details on how you work that out, but there’s gotta be a better way. I mean, we spend more money per person on health care than any other country in the world, yet we have people that don’t have access to health care. Being in the military for 25 years, I get my health care now here at the VA hospital in Asheville. When people talk about socialized medicine, I’m pretty happy with the socialized medicine that I’ve experienced. People talk about, “Do you want a bureaucrat standing between you and your health care?” You know, a bureaucrat gets paid the same amount of money whether they say yes or no. An insurance company knows that the more times they say no, the higher the profits and the bigger the bonus. I’d kinda like to have the guy that doesn’t have a financial incentive making the decision rather than somebody that makes a profit. Another issue is health care providers. I would like to see more residency opportunities. If you have medical students that come to an area and spend years doing their residency, some are going to finish it up and leave and go somewhere else and chase the big dollars, but a significant percentage are going to stay. If we can bring people to Western North Carolina to do their residency, I think we’ll see a lot of those people stay. For instance, when I go to the hospital, if it’s not a heart attack or a broken leg or something urgent, nine times out of 10 I see a physician’s assistant, not a doctor. There’s not a P.A. program in this district, in Western North Carolina. Western Carolina University has a nursing program and they have a nurse practitioner program, but they don’t have a P.A. program. I’d like to help get funding to put a P.A. program at Western Carolina. The big difference in a nurse practitioner and a physician assistant is the P.A. doesn’t require a doctor’s supervision. In the military, I went back and got a master’s of law, and for every year of school, I had a two-year service commitment. If we had a program where we could send people through the PA program in return for a payback of working in Western North Carolina, we could have greater access to health care.

SMN: Increasingly, people are talking about the solution to the opioid crisis as rooted in health care and the mental health benefits that that should inevitably come with it. Do you think health care can alleviate this scourge in this district? MD: Again, it’s concentric circles. I think poverty, education and health care all come together to help contribute to the problem. 4 So if we can improve education and employ-

ment opportunities and provide health care, I think we can address it — it’s not going to eliminate the problem, but it’ll help address it. There are people that end up in the emergency room that have mental health issues or addiction issues that can’t be transferred to a treatment facility because the emergency room has to keep them until someone will sign off saying that they’re stable. And at that point, they have to be discharged. So there are things that have been done with the best of intentions that have had unintended consequences. I wish there was an easy answer, but it’s really a multifaceted problem that we just have to work on a piece at a time.

2018 congressional votes in NC 11 COUNTY Avery Buncombe Burke Caldwell Cherokee Clay Graham Haywood Henderson Jackson Macon Madison McDowell Mitchell Polk Rutherford Swain Transylvania Yancey

OLD MAP R D 26,717 33,045 18,524 9,208 19,212 6,701 8,191 2,557 3,717 1,308 2,712 838 14,712 9,968 29,008 18,941 7,494 7,268 10,116 4,891 4,981 4,036 10,276 4,244 4,799 1,424 3,016 2,055 8,912 6,516 5,625 3,508

NEW MAP R D 4,945 1,545 44,458 73,275 8,191 2,557 3,717 1,308 2,712 838 14,712 9,968 29,008 18,941 7,494 7,268 10,116 4,891 4,981 4,036 10,276 4,244 4,799 1,424 5,483 3,694 6,059 2,460 3,016 2,055 8,912 6,516 5,625 3,508

alliances. We’ve pushed our friends away. We’ve embraced our adversaries. North Korea and Iran are both still actively developing nuclear weapons. We abandoned the Kurds after they fought bravely in our interests. We’ve turned our backs on them. A couple of weeks ago, he pardoned people that had either been convicted or accused of war crimes. We led the effort after World War II to create the Geneva Convention, to bring the world up to our standards, and now we’ve got a president that’s playing down to the standards of people that we used to try to hold accountable.

SMN: Again, it’s an important question, to let voters know what kind of SMN: How do you make Total votes 178,012 116,508 174,504 148,528 Democrat you are — conseryour name known when you Total percent 60.44 39.56 54.02 45.98 vative? Ultra liberal? A Bernie have a guy like Woodsmall Smoky Mountain News Sanders Democrat, or perwho’s been campaigning for haps a Kamala Harris lawmore than two years, and and-order Democrat? If you possibly last year’s nominee, can’t say who you’ll vote for, who are maybe Phillip Price, in addition to a younger “I think health care is a your top two or three that you would like to Asheville candidate, Michael O’Shea? see advance? MD: Well, that’s the challenge. It’s less fundamental right as an MD: I think there are a lot of good choicthan a hundred days till Election Day so it’s American. No one should es. To me, I think it’s kind of like picking the going to be a sprint from here till March. Democratic contender for the 11th district. Obviously this area around Asheville is a have to go without health It’s who is most likely to beat the incumbent, pretty progressive blue area. Out in the care and no one should because the bottom line objective has to be Western part of the district, there’s some of getting the person in office out, whether it’s those red counties that would be interested have to go bankrupt Mark Meadows or Donald Trump. So I look in listening to a 25-year veteran. I have over a at it as who’s got the best chance of beating year working for Congress, so I’ve been there because they got sick. I Donald Trump, not necessarily who has the to see how the sausage got made. I’ve been a think basic health care views that I think in a perfect world would judge. I’ve been a law professor. I grew up in suit me the best. So I don’t know. I mean, it at Shelby and Cleveland County. My family had ought to be guaranteed. least appears that Joe Biden’s got a lot of a farm in Rutherford County. I went to colappeal with workers, with common people in lege up in Boone. I think it’s just a matter of Some folks talk about the iron belt that went for Trump up in Ohio getting out there and letting people know Medicare for all, others and Pennsylvania. Bernie Sanders is extraorwho I am and that, my commitment to them, dinarily popular here in this area. I keep askmy only interest is going to be them and not talk about a single payer ing who’s got the best chance of beating trying to run interference for the president system. The devil’s in the Donald Trump. or for anyone else. At this point in time it will be hard to put details on how you work all the chips on the table and put them SMN: Assuming you’re successful in this behind one horse. Whoever ends up being primary, you’re going to have to raise a lot of that out, but there’s gotta most likely to beat Trump has to be the nommoney. How do you compete with Mark be a better way. inee, and everybody’s got to get behind Meadows’ money? them. No more of what we’ve seen in the past MD: I can’t compete with the Koch — Moe Davis where the perfect became the enemy of the brothers and that’s who’s gonna put their good. They didn’t get what they wanted, so money behind him. Up until this point, it had been a waste of money to put money run on his record, and again I’d ask, what is this is what we end up with. Today there was behind Mark Meadows because this was a that record? What’s he done for the people an argument in the Supreme Court on the Second Amendment and we’ve got two more slam-dunk. On the same token, for the of this district? conservative justices that Trump has Democrats it was money down the drain and SMN: If the Democratic Presidential appointed. People that chose to stay on the Democrats chose to focus on the races that they thought they could win. I used to do Primary was held today, who do you vote for? sidelines or to say “It doesn’t matter” back in MD: Well, any living human being would 2016 need to take a look at where we are and commentary on MSNBC and CNN and Fox and different networks and over time built be better than Donald Trump. I think any of get out in 2020 and vote for whoever the up a fairly substantial social media follow- the Democrats would be a tremendous nominee is. That’s one thing I can tell you ing, including politicians and journalists improvement. The top tier, they’re all quali- with 100 percent certainty is, whoever the and celebrities and athletes and people that fied for the job. They all make good points, nominee is, I will support wholeheartedly I hope will get behind the effort and help focusing on health care and jobs and restor- and I’ll be out there on Election Day voting bring in the resources that are necessary to ing America’s credibility. I don’t see how any for that person regardless of who it is get the message out and let people know veteran can support Donald Trump given because we can’t put up with four more years what I stand for. Mark Meadows is going to what he’s done to destroy our historical of Donald Trump.

Presnell out, Pless steps up as filing period begins


2020; in 2018, Presnell defeated Beaverdam Democrat Rhonda Cole Schandevel with 57 percent of the vote, a slight improvement over her 2016 total of 55 percent, again over Schandevel. In 2014, she defeated Democrat Dean Hicks with 51.3 percent of the vote, and in 2012 she defeated incumbent Democrat Ray Rapp with the same total of 51.3 percent. Another surprise came out of Haywood County just hours after Presnell’s announcement — Republican Commissioner Mark Pless, first elected in November 2018, submitted paperwork declaring his intent to succeed Presnell. No Democratic candidate has yet stepped forward in a bid to contest Pless’ plans. Rep. Kevin Corbin, R-Franklin, signed up to run for Sen. Jim Davis’ seat since the incumbent Republican won’t be seeking reelection. Macon County Republican Commissioner Karl Gillespie then signed up to run for Corbin’s House seat. In Jackson County, the first days of filing have been slow. In 2020, voters will elect county commissioners for districts three and four — the areas around Cullowhee and Cashiers, respectively — as well as two school board members. The office of Soil and Water Conservation District Officer will be on the ballot as well, but filing for that contest doesn’t start until June. Incumbent District Three Commissioner


BY CORY VAILLANCOURT STAFF WRITER f you think seems a bit early for candidates to be filing for the 2020 elections, you’re right — a change to state law pushing back North Carolina’s Primary Election from early May to early March means that candidates have already begun filing for a host of offices. Perhaps the most surprising revelation to come out of the first day of the filing period was an announcement by a longtime Western North Carolina legislator. After four terms in the N.C. House of Representatives, incumbent Rep. Michele Presnell, R-Burnsville, announced Dec. 2 that she would not seek a fifth term. “Today, December 2, 2019 is opening day for filing for the NC House of Representatives. I am announcing that I will not seek reelection for District 118 serving Haywood, Madison and Yancey counties,” said Presnell in a Facebook post this morning. “By the end of 2020 I will have served eight years driving to Raleigh early Monday morning and returning late Thursday evening while in session. It’s time to re-focus on family and other opportunities that the Lord leads. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve all the people in my district and the great state of NC.” Retirement was probably the only way to get Presnell out of her District 118 seat in

Michele Presnell Ron Mau, a Republican, will not run for reelection and will instead seek a seat in Raleigh representing District 119 in the N.C. House of Representatives, signing up for that race on the first day of filing, Dec. 2. So far, only one person — Democrat Brad Stillwell — has filed to run for the seat Mau will vacate. Mickey Luker, who currently holds the district four seat, has been the subject of controversy lately due to his lack of in-person attendance at county meetings. While he often phones in, Luker has not physically attended a commissioner meeting since July. As of press time, he had not returned a mes-

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sage asking whether he intends to run for reelection, and nobody else had filed for the seat either. Incumbent Wesley Jamison has filed for another term as the school board’s district three representative. The seat currently held by Elizabeth Cooper is up for election as well. Filing for legislative offices ends on Dec. 20, 2019, so be sure to check back with The Smoky Mountain News as the filing period progresses for the latest news and updates. The Primary Election, including Democratic presidential candidates, will take place on Tuesday, March 3, 2020.

December 4-10, 2019

Discover Asheville’s Brightest Holiday Tradition!

Mark Pless




Members of Down Home North Carolina await the provisional vote tally at the Jackson County Board of Elections Nov. 15. Cory Vaillancourt photo

Not so super? Out-of-state money influences small-town elections

Smoky Mountain News

December 4-10, 2019

BY CORY VAILLANCOURT STAFF WRITER uper PACs are starting to make a bigtime impact on small-town Western North Carolina politics, and not everyone thinks that’s a super idea. Luther Jones, a Sylva resident who came up short in his bid for a commission seat last month, said he wants to keep outside money out of local politics, but it may be too late for that. Down Home North Carolina, a nonprofit with a progressive Super PAC and local Luther Jones chapters in Alamance, Haywood and Jackson counties, endorsed and worked on behalf of five WNC municipal candidates in the Nov. 5 General Election. Four of them won, and the fifth — a Down Home staff organizer — lost a tiebreaking coin flip. Jones’ gripes may sound like sour grapes, but he’s also filed a complaint with the N.C. State Board of Elections alleging improper coordination between the Super PAC and the organizer-turned-candidate, Carrie McBane. As it turns out, Jones’ gripes may have some validity, at least the ones about “big outside money.” Although it bills itself as a local grassroots nonpartisan organization, financial disclosures show Down Home isn’t nearly as “homey” as it seems, given that well over 99 percent of its funding comes from just 6 three liberal PACs based in Chicago, Palo


Alto, California, and Washington, D.C. Regardless of Jones’ complaint, it now seems as though Super PACs like Down Home — backed by deep pockets and bolstered by a winning track record — are here to stay. “What I’m looking at,” Jones said, “is the end of what you could call the ‘volunteer’ who wants to serve in local government, in the local community. When money’s coming in from outside, you’re no longer talking about local government. You’re talking about being an adjunct of something that’s far more wideranging.” ccording to records filed with the North Carolina State Board of Elections, Down Home North Carolina was incorporated in Greensboro on April 25, 2018, as an independent expenditure political action committee, or I.E. PAC. While your regular garden variety PACs are most often a candidate’s committee, or a political party, or a trade/union/professional association that has the goal of supporting or opposing one or more candidates or political parties, I.E. PACs are slightly different. In common parlance they’re called Super PACs, according to the NCSBE, and they differ from other PACs in that they’re prohibited from making contributions, “directly or indirectly, to candidates or to political committees that make contributions to candidates.” They’re also forbidden from coordinating directly — “directly” being the operative word — with candidates. That means they spend the bulk of their money on creating and pay-


“When money’s coming in from outside, you’re no longer talking about local government. You’re talking about being an adjunct of something that’s far more wide-ranging.” — Luther Jones

ing for mailers or advertisements, or for the labor involved in voter contact activities like knocking on doors, or for the overhead associated with such activities, like office expenses, computers, clipboards and consumables. A few days after Down Home filed its paperwork that April, the group collected $74 in aggregated contributions. Aggregated contributions are defined as contributions from individuals who have given $50 or less during the election. The names, addresses, phone numbers and occupations of these small-dollar donors needn’t be reported until they contribute more than $50 during the election. Such contributions are usually collected as membership dues or at minor group events, like rallies, parties or meetings. A few days after that, Down Home recorded a $100 contribution from Dana Courtney of Graham, N.C., which is just east of Burlington. That contribution is significant because to date, it’s the only non-aggregate contribution from an individual that Down Home has ever received, and also the only itemized contribution from a person or entity located within Down Home’s home state of North Carolina, according to NCSBE records as of Nov. 30. Because Down Home was incorporated near the middle of the second quarter of 2018, its first state finance report was filed in July of

that year. Along with the $74 in aggregate contributions and the $100 from Courtney, there was only one other contribution listed on the group’s report — $5,000 from a PAC based in Chicago called People’s Action. Founded in Chicago in 2016, People’s Action is a PAC with a mission “to ignite a movement of millions that captures the rising demand for change in our society,” according to its website. Issues the group supports include various green economy initiatives, housing justice, Medicare for all and free college for all. A 2016 year-end Federal Elections Commission report shows People’s Action spent $10,802, all to oppose then-candidate Donald Trump. The group’s 2018 report listed $32,195 in indirect expenditures on behalf of Iowa Democratic Congresswoman Cindy Axne, California Democratic Congresswoman Katherine Porter, and Betsy Londrigan, an Illinois Democrat who lost her race for Congress that year. Despite its humble roots and meager $5,174 second quarter fundraising, during the third quarter of 2018, Down Home would go on to collect a series of substantial five-figure donations. The first was a $50,000 contribution on July 18 from the Green Advocacy Project, a Palo Alto, California-based I.E. PAC that supports various renewable energy policies. That was followed in late September and early October by two separate $10,000 donations from the Future Now Fund, a D.C.based PAC formed to support legislative candidates. In 2018, the Fund spent almost $2.4 million in elections across the country. As legislative elections drew near, records show that Down Home logged a trio of transactions from People’s Action — in-kind contributions of $12,406 on Oct. 26, $18,753 on Oct. 29 and $24,094 on Nov. 8. Along with another $73 in aggregate contributions on Oct. 17, records also show that throughout 2018, Down Home reimbursed several vendors for flyers, handbills, mailers, print advertisements and stamps. Those payments must list the specific candidates the expenditures are meant to support, or oppose. Down Home opposed only one candidate, then-Rep. Mike Clampitt, a Republican from Bryson City. The group spent more than $22,000 in support of Democratic legislative candidates Rhonda Cole Schandevel (lost to Rep. Michele Presnell, R-Burnsville), Erica McAdoo (lost to Rep. Steven Ross, RAlamance), as well as local-level Alamance County Commission candidates Bob Byrd and Kristen Powers, both of whom lost. Not counting the more than $55,000 worth of in-kind contributions made by People’s Action, of the $75,247 Down Home raised in 2018 only the $100 check from Courtney comes from an individual anywhere near “home,” rather than an out-of-state PAC hundreds or thousands of miles away. hen 2019’s municipal election season began in earnest, Down Home still had $52,853 in cash on hand from 2018 per an Oct. 28 NCSBE report, the group’s most recent. To that cash balance Down



Down Home North Carolina’s Carrie McBane came within a coin toss of victory. Cory Vaillancourt photo

“I was told explicitly that I would not be included in any conversations, any phone calls, any meetings that had to do with campaign strategy. And I was not. We all made very sure that I was separated from that.” — Carrie McBane

to Down Home were divvied up into 57 individual payments to contractors in amounts ranging from $16 to $3,475 including payments of $390, $180, $62 and $264 to Carrie McBane. At issue is whether or not that’s considered “coordination.” By law, Super PACs like Down Home aren’t allowed to coordinate with or make direct contributions to candidates, and both Feichter and Sutton told SMN before the election they hadn’t received any. Down Home staffer Chelsea Hoglen, of Haywood County, said her group’s work is more important than money. “This isn’t about getting more money into politics,” Hoglen said hours after McBane’s loss. “We also didn’t want to buy candidates. We wanted to work on behalf of our values and our values go much further than elections, so we see elections as a tool in our tool belt. Rather than just write a check for that tool, we want to use that tool to build our power.” Hoglen did, however, explain what candidates can expect from a Down Home endorsement.

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December 4-10, 2019

ing against the members of Down Home, who — unlike their funding — are mostly regional or local and in many cases have lived their entire lives in the area. Jones also says he agrees with the majority of Down Home’s policy positions, like on the issues of a living wage and expanding Medicaid. He does, per his complaint, find it “highly disturbing” that McBane was endorsed by and supported by the same Super PAC he alleges pays her salary. “That is completely false,” McBane said Nov. 15. “The organization that pays me is called Alliance for a Just Society.” The Seattle-based Alliance for a Just Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, meaning it cannot engage directly or indirectly in support of or opposition to any campaign or candidate, so it engages mostly in policy advocacy and organizing. Alliance for a Just Society is a legacy organization of the People’s Action Institute, another 501(c)(3) that serves as the policy arm of the 501(c)(4) PAC People’s Action. According to People’s Action disclosures filed on Oct. 24 and Nov. 28, 2018, its $12,406 and $24,094 in-kind contributions

“Our endorsement support looked like helping to get the word out about their candidacy using our platforms like our social media platform, as well as hiring four independent contractors to do canvasing and knock on doors and talk about all of our candidates and the Down Home mission,” she said. “We are a nonpartisan group of course. So we were explaining why we endorse these candidates to community members. We knocked on over 3,000 doors across Haywood and Jackson counties during this election.” Nicole Visnesky, a Down Home member from Cullowhee, explained how the group’s endorsement process worked. “We invited the different candidates to come and talk to us and we asked some questions related to things that were important to us, like town beautification, putting in beeper sounds for people who are seeing-impaired, and then they had the opportunity to take a stance or not take a stance,” said Visnesky. “After we interviewed all the candidates, we came together as a group and we were able to vote on who we wanted to endorse based on their answers to their questions.” McBane was one of those candidates, but Hoglen said she didn’t get any special treatment from the group of which she’s a member. “From nuts to bolts, this whole process was member led, so the questions that the members came up with were actually based off of a platform that they created,” she said. “The members themselves did create that platform. It was then also voted on by the collective membership. There was a small group that did the interviews and brought back the results to our collective membership and all of the members got to vote.” For her part, McBane said both she and Down Home were well aware of the lines, and never crossed them. “I was told explicitly that I would not be included in any conversations, any phone calls, any meetings that had to do with campaign strategy,” she said. “And I was not. We all made very sure that I was separated from that. My campaign included me knocking on doors, me making phone calls, me talking to the community. Nobody else helped me. I actually was supposed to have volunteers and they couldn’t end up helping me. So it was just me.” Jones said he didn’t have a timeline for when the NCSBE might investigate or resolve his complaint.


Home added on June 10 another $25 in aggregate contributions, and another contribution from the Green Advocacy Project, this time for $55,000, bringing its cash balance to more than $105,000 as of Oct. 28. That was just seven days before the Nov. 5 General Election, which featured municipal contests across the state, including in Sylva and Waynesville. Although finance reports for activity during and after that seven-day period aren’t due until late January, Down Home did make formal endorsements of several candidates and posted an impressive win record. In Waynesville, both endorsed aldermanic candidates won their races. Incumbent Alderman Jon Feichter was widely seen as a lock for re-election and finished a strong second to upstart Chuck Dickson. Anthony Sutton had run before and lost and was less of a lock, but still edged out Joey Reece by 1.02 percent to claim the fourth and final seat. In Sylva, all three endorsed candidates would have won if the tie-breaking coin flip had gone Carrie McBane’s way. On Election Day, incumbent David Nestler led the ticket by a wide margin and was followed by fellow incumbent Greg McPherson. Both were endorsed by Down Home, as was Carrie McBane, who’s listed on Down Home’s website as the group’s Western Chapter organizer. Even before Jackson County Elections Chairman Kirk Stephens tossed the coin into the air on Nov. 15, Down Home found itself at the center of controversy. “I was just bummed about the whole big outside money thing. That could just spiral out of control. If there was another group that was similar to Down Home it could have gotten really ugly, so I hope we can preserve our little election and keep it free of the big outside money,” Benjamin Guiney, the candidate on the right side of the coin flip, told SMN shortly after Election Day. “I thought that was a little over the top, having paid canvassers and also full-page ads in The Smoky Mountain News as well as The Sylva Herald. I thought that was a little much for a local municipal election.” On Nov. 13, The Sylva Herald reported that Luther Jones, who with 72 votes finished well behind McBane and Guiney’s Election Day tally of 106 votes, had filed a complaint with the NCSBE. Jones was careful to note that he has noth-


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The cost of incarceration Sisters form Pretrial Justice Project of Macon County BY J ESSI STONE N EWS E DITOR awn Todd manages a humane society in Franklin. With a full plate at work, she isn’t someone who would usually get involved in someone else’s criminal matters, but she’s also someone who can’t turn away when she sees people being treated unfairly. When a family friend got hit with firstdegree murder charges two years ago in Macon County, she couldn’t help but to notice a number of injustices as the accused were trying to navigate their way through the system. The case was all over the news — a young mother and father facing murder charges in the death of their 3-month-old infant. The mother was able to be bonded out of jail, but the father has been sitting in jail for over two years awaiting trial as taxpayers foot the bill. “Dawn and I became aware of a case in Macon involving friends of our nephew who found themselves accused of a crime. Usually I wouldn’t have gotten involved but the cir-

December 4-10, 2019


cumstances didn’t add up to them being guilty,” said Laura Jean Koval, Todd’s sister. “So we’ve been involved in that case and many others since then and what we’ve found is there are an overwhelming number of people in this county who’ve been swept into this criminal justice system at a great cost to them and also to our county.” Since then Todd and Koval have gotten involved in a number of Macon County cases where they say the charges just don’t add up and bonds have been set too high. They’ve become a resource and advocate for people sitting in jail awaiting a court date. It’s been an eye-opening and frustrating cause, Todd said, seeing people suffering from addiction, unable to afford a proper defense, being moved from jail to jail, not having communication with their public defender or family and not knowing whether their case will finally be resolved or continued for another several months while they wait it out. Todd and Koval formed a nonprofit — Pretrial Justice Project of Macon County — in an effort to bring more awareness to the shortcomings within the system and to implement pretrial programs that will decrease the overcrowdedness in the Macon jail and cut down the costs for taxpayers. “There’s been a sweeping outcry across the country and bipartisan support for criminal justice reform,” Koval said. “It’s costly to keep people in jail and it’s shown to not make us any safer.” The road to reform is going to be a challenging one as the region has limited resources. Even if funding for pretrial pro-

Laura Jean Koval gives a presentation about the issues within the criminal justice system and how it’s impacting people in Macon County. Screenshot grams came along in Macon, Todd said there’s nowhere to divert people with mental health or addiction issues. The women held what they hope is the first of many community discussions on Nov. 22 in Franklin to explain some of the issues they have encountered. In her presentation, Koval referenced reporting from The Smoky Mountain News last year regarding overcrowded jails in Western North Carolina, backlogged courts, burgeoning law enforcement budgets and possible solutions to address these complex problems. While the daily average inmate population has grown in

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NCDOT to hold Informational meeting SYLVA — The N.C. Department of Transportation is hosting a drop-in public informational meeting for property owners and tenants along N.C. 107 in Sylva. The meeting for the upcoming project will be held from 3-7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 9 in the gymnasium of First United Methodist Church at 77 Jackson Street in Sylva. NCDOT is in the in the process of designing roadway and multi-modal improvements along N.C. 107 from U.S. 23 Business to Webster Road. Designs for the upcoming project are more than 65 percent complete, some right of way negotiations have started at the request of property owners and approval through the Department’s advanced acquisition procedure. The remaining right of way negotiations will begin in early 2020. The 65 percent maps will be displayed, and project team members will be available at the meeting to answer questions from property owners, business owners, and concerned tenants. The public may attend at any time, as no formal presentation will be made at the informational meeting.

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each county, the inmate population in Macon County has grown at a much higher rate. “All jails went up but nothing compared to Macon County. I wanted to know why,” she said. County jails are not the same as stateoperated prisons — jails mostly house inmates awaiting trial (the assumed innocent until proven guilty) while prisons are for people who have already been convicted and serving their sentences. In a perfect system, the only people who would be detained for more than 48 hours in the county jail are

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“There’s been a sweeping outcry across the country and bipartisan support for criminal justice reform. It’s costly to keep people in jail and it’s shown to not make us any safer.” — Laura Jean Koval

December 4-10, 2019

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For higher bails, most people will need property to put up as collateral, which means people who don’t own a car, house or property can’t make bail. Even if someone makes bail and is found innocent in court, they’ll never get that money back from the bondsman. For those who can’t make bond, they will sit in jail awaiting a court date — and in the meantime the person could be losing their job, lose their ability to pay the rent or mortgage and could be at risk of losing custody of their children if they don’t have family support. “A majority of people in our county manage to bond themselves out and they go into debt to do it,” Koval said. She mentioned the national Bail Project that has helped more than 8,000 people by posting their bail and getting them out of jail pretrial. Researchers behind the project have found that 90 percent of people held in jail before trial — at the taxpayers’ expense — end up pleading to lesser charges to be released, half of those cases end up being dismissed and only about 2 percent of people actually get jail or prison time. “We’ve been tracking arrests since June 2019 with as much public information that’s available — and how long they’re sitting in jail. Of the 500 people arrested since June 1, the primary charge is drug related and property crimes, which we know goes hand in hand with substance abuse,” she said. “The other charges are DUIs, assault charges,

which 92 percent are misdemeanors. It’s very clear substance abuse is driving the arrests in this county. We also learned that meth is having an outsized role in the community — 61 percent of drug charges are possession of methamphetamine.” While it’s important to protect the rights of citizens who should be presumed innocent until proven guilty, Koval said criminal justice reform is also in the best interest of all taxpayers since the counties are having to foot the bill to keep people in jail at $80 to $120 a day. Instead of incarceration, people suffering from mental health or substance use disorders would be better rehabilitated by going through a treatment program. “Treatment is more effective and less costly than incarceration,” she said. According to the National Institute of Health, every dollar invested in addiction treatment programs yields a return of between $4 and $7 in reduced drug-related crime, criminal justice costs and theft. There are limited mental health and substance use resources for people in WNC, especially for people without insurance. Meanwhile, the Macon County budget for the sheriff ’s department and the detention center continue to rise. The Macon County jail budget was $2.1 million in 2013-14 and jumped to $2.9 million in 2016-17. Inmate medical costs have increased from $187,000 in 2013-14 to $282,000 in 2017-18. Overcrowding has forced the sheriff ’s office to have to transport inmates to other counties to be held, which is costing the county more than $500,000 a year. It’s a good time to be discussing jail costs and ways to reduce the jail population as Macon County Sheriff Robbie Holland and county commissioners have been discussing the need to build a new law enforcement center. The county recently hired an engineering firm to do a space needs analysis on all county facilities and make infrastructure project recommendations for the future. A new consolidated justice center that would include a new detention center topped the list of priorities, coming in at a whopping $77.3 million. The new proposed jail would have a maximum capacity of 240 beds. There are plenty of ways to get involved in the Pretrial Justice Project in Macon County — assisting families swept up in the system, writing to people in jail, donating funds to inmates’ jail accounts, donating nice clothes for inmates to wear in court, volunteering to make calls reminding people the nonprofit will be up and running soon. “Clearly these are complex problems. We know people should feel safe in the community but we also want to know that our tax dollars are being spent effectively and that our less fortunate neighbors are being treated fairly, kindly,” Koval said. “Our long-term vision is to reduce pretrial incarceration — it’s morally and fiscally imperative.” The effort can use all the help it can get as Todd and Koval are volunteers with busy day jobs. They are hoping to collaborate with other nonprofits and stakeholders to move the effort forward. For more information, email Todd at


those who are deemed a flight risk or those whose alleged crimes pose a risk to public safety. Everyone else arrested and awaiting a court date should ideally be able to be released until they face trial. Todd said that’s not how the system is playing out in real life. The 75-bed jail in Macon County had an average daily population of 105 in 2018. The increase can be attributed to a number of factors, particularly the drug epidemic, an antiquated bond system and a backlogged court system. The bail system is one reason county jails are facing an overcrowding issue. “People are awaiting trial because of the bail system — the money you have to pay to avoid sitting in jail. It’s the promise you’ll show up to court but what happens when the bonds become punitive?” Koval asked. “Well the accused has a difficult decision to make — sit there for weeks, months or years awaitt ing a trial or try to get bonded out if they can come up with the bondsman’s fee, which is n usually 10 to 15 percent of the entire bail amount.” d


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BY J ESSI STONE N EWS E DITOR aywood and Jackson counties have been participating in an important pilot program this year in hopes of creating a more fair and swift court process in the judicial district. At the beginning of 2019, Judicial District 30B — which encompasses Haywood and Jackson counties — began a pretrial release program with the goals of reducing the local jail population, decreasing recidivism rates and increasing the efficiency of the court system. According to the Pretrial Justice Institute, six out of 10 people sitting in jail — nearly half a million on any given day — are awaiting trial. Many accused low-level offenders stay in jail until their court date because they can’t afford to pay their cash bond, which can range from $200 to thousands of dollars depending on the offense, and not because they are a public safety or flight risk. All these people in jail awaiting trial are clogging up the court dockets and costing taxpayers millions of dollars a year. Seeing how these problems were impacting the system, Superior Court Judge Bradley Letts was instrumental in getting this program implemented. “No one is being soft on crime. We want to be smart on crime,” Letts told The Smoky Mountain News last year. “This will provide stability and safety for the community but in a thoughtful way while also being mindful of the costs for the county and taxpayers.” With third quarter analytical results being released in late November, it appears the pretrial program is making progress toward those intended goals but also seeing some unintentional side effects as 2019 comes to a close.

December 4-10, 2019


Providing more pretrial services for people awaiting a court date has been a key component of bipartisan criminal justice reform efforts across the country as more county governments are faced with overcrowded jails, a backlogged court system and unsustainable budget increases. A couple examples of other pretrial services available in Haywood County include the LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) program where law enforcement can refer people to mental health or addiction support before they are arrested and having peer support specialists working with inmates inside the jail to help them connect with the services they need. The pretrial release program is just one more proactive effort being made to get a handle on the increasing numbers of people facing low-level charges — mostly due to addiction — and trying to get them the help they need as opposed to locking them up without rehabilitation. “I think there is a lot of movement on pretrial reform in N.C. right now,” said Jamie Vaske, an associate professor at Western Carolina University who’s leading the pretrial release project’s evaluation component. “In Western N.C. we see Buncombe County experimenting with comprehensive pretrial reform, via their Safety and Justice MacArthur Grant, and Catawba County is partnering with MacArthur for implementation of the Public Safety Assessment. It will be interesting to see whether the data supports the use of these programs or not.” The Criminal Justice Innovation Lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is also closely evaluating the data and analyzing the outcomes from the first year. The hope is that the program is successful at meeting its goals and can be duplicated in other judicial districts in the state.

PRETRIAL RELEASE The pretrial release program for Haywood and Jackson has several components. First, it put into place a new decision-making framework for law enforcement and judges to use when it comes to issuing citations and setting bonds. Participating law enforcement were given a Cite or Arrest Pocket Card meant to encourage the increased use of citations instead of an arrest for certain misdemeanors and the issuing of summons instead of warrants. The program also included updating the old Local Bail Policy magistrate judges use to determine how to set someone’s bond. “JD 30B’s old Local Bail Policy included a table setting suggested bond amounts based on the punishment class of the charged offense. Best practices recommend against

the use of such tables,” Vaske wrote in her analysis. “Additionally, stakeholders determined that although the current charge’s offense class is relevant to the bail decision, other individualized factors regarding the defendant and the circumstances of the offense are important in assessing appropriate pretrial release conditions.” She said stakeholders also found the old bail policy pushed magistrates toward issuing more secured bonds even though that contradicts state policies that say people should be released on an unsecured bond, written promise or custody release unless they are a flight risk or pose a public safety danger. By limiting the number of secured bonds, the court system can ensure people aren’t being held pretrial simply because they don’t have the financial means to pay their bail.



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The first nine months of data show that the program is seeing improvements within the system, specifically with fewer secured bonds and more non-financial conditions for pretrial release, fewer pretrial bookings at the jails and shorter jail stays for those who are booked pretrial. The percent of non-financial conditions issued during the first three quarters of 2019 was 18.61 percentage points higher than the percent issued during the same period in 2018. During the same timeframe, there was a significant decrease in secured bonds issued — from 60.84 percent of cases to 41.80 percent. The data shows that the number of admissions into the Haywood County jail was, on average, 3.97 percent lower in 2019 compared to 2018. The number of pretrial bookings was higher for the months of January, May, June, and July 2019, relative to the same period in in 2018. Vaske’s analysis also examines the rates of people who fail to appear for their court date during the first nine months of the program. On average, the percentage of defendants who failed to appear is 2.57 percentage points higher in 2019 compared to 2018. The percentage of defendants failing to appear has slightly increased: the average court appearance rate was 81.37 percent in 2018 and 78.79 percent in 2019 for Jackson County. Analysis of the 2019 court calendars show that a large number of nonappearances in July and August 2019 account for the substantial increase in non-appearance rate. “We do see a slight increase in non-appearances — 2.57 percent increase for Jackson and 1.41 percent increase for Haywood — although 80 percent of people are showing up to court as required and this has not changed,” Vaske said. “I think it’s important to put it in context. We have seen similar increases in nonappearances in Charlotte after they implemented their reforms. Also, when we look to see where non-appearances have increased, we see increases in non-appearances on the traffic calendars in both counties.” She said the question for stakeholders will be whether these 1 to 3 percent increases in non-appearances and the extra time involved for the project are worth it. When it comes to continuing the program next year, Vaske said that will be completely up to Judge Letts. Letts has not responded to emails seeking comment on the program’s first year. “I think the jail data are showing a decrease in long term pretrial detention relative to the previous year. Also, the recent ACLU lawsuit against Alamance County draws attention to bail practices in N.C., especially rural jurisdictions,” she said. “There are a host of additional considerations as well — protecting constitutional rights, citizens’ perceptions of these programs and feelings of safety, etc.”

JACKSON COUNTY Jackson County Public Library, 310 Keener St, Sylva, NC 28779 Sat., Dec. 14 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sun., Dec. 15 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Toni Pasquariello, Legal Aid Navigator (cell) 828-371-0363 (office) 828-477-4572 Mountain Projects: Susan Rose: 828-476-9194 Jan Plummer: 828-492-4111

GRAHAM COUNTY Thurs. Dec. 12 10:30-5:00 Graham County Public Library 80 Knight St, Robbinsville, NC 28771 Linda Fitzsimmons 828-550-7908 HAYWOOD COUNTY Haywood County Public Library -Canton Branch 11 Pennsylvania Ave., Canton, NC 28716 Thur., Dec. 12 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. (828) 452-1447- Ask for Jan, Vicky, or Jane SWAIN COUNTY Fri., Dec. 13 10:00-5:00 Marianna Black Library 33 Frymont St. Bryson City, NC 28713 Linda Fitzsimmons: 828 550-7908 STATEWIDE ENROLLMENTS & APPOINTMENTS

(855) 733-3711 or visit 1:1 appointments available by county through December 15th To enroll on your own, visit or call the Marketplace Center at 1-800-318-2596 • Clay/Cherokee: Linda Palmieri (828) 400-3149 • Macon County: Cynthia Solesbee (828) 400-4177 The project described was supported by Funding Opportunity Number CA-NAV-19-001 from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The contents provided are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of HHS or any of its agencies

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Research also shows that keeping low-level defendants detained pretrial has negative t g public safety consequences and negative case outcomes for defendants. In order to get prel trial inmates to a quicker first appearance, the Indigent Defense Services Office of North Carolina worked to recruit enough lawyers in the district willing to take on a new role offered to indigent defendants. Otherwise, detainees might not even meet their courtappointed attorney until the moment they appear before the judge, which means the case is often continued for another month or two. Only a few lawyers signed up and they take turns being the “first appearance” lawyer in District Court on certain days. The first appearance lawyer’s job is to meet with as many defendants in the morning as possible to collect as much information as they can about the case before appearing before a judge to try to get a pretrial release for the defendant. These lawyers are paid under a contract through IDS. “Early involvement of counsel at pretrial proceedings will better inform judges’ pretrial decisions and protect defendants’ rights in light of the significant consequences associated with pretrial detention,” Vaske wrote. “Early involvement of counsel is recommended by national standards and has been specifically recommended for North Carolina.” For those defendants intentionally detained on unattainably high secured bonds because of concerns about public safety or flight risk, the


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To view the complete third quarter progress report, visit 11/Third-quarter-implementationresults.pdf.

new bail policy was revised to provide the defendant with a detention bond hearing. At that hearing, defendants are provided with constitutional procedural protections, including the right to counsel, the right to present evidence, and proof by the state that no conditions of release can reasonably assure safety, appearance and protection of the judicial process.


The new stakeholder-created framework helps magistrates quickly identify low-risk defendants who can immediately be released on non-financial conditions while also recommending maximum bond amounts for secured bonds. It requires magistrates to provide documentation of reasoning if they choose to deviate from the framework and impose a secured bond. Secondly, the pretrial program puts an emphasis on making sure pretrial detainees have quicker access to a first appearance in District Court. Current law requires a first appearance for in-custody felony defendants within 96 hours of being taken into custody, but the reform program requires defendants charged with misdemeanors and Class H and I felonies to have a first appearance within 72 hours of arrest or at the first regular session of the District Court in the county, whichever occurs first. “Because the law does not require first appearances for in-custody misdemeanor defendants, these defendants may sit in jail for weeks or more until their first court date,” Vaske reported. “This can lead to scenarios where misdemeanor defendants are incarcerated pretrial when the charged offense cannot result in a custodial sentence upon conviction or where they are incarcerated pretrial r for a longer period than they could receive in a custodial sentence if convicted.”



New hires to speed child custody cases in Cherokee BY HOLLY KAYS STAFF WRITER ribal Council voted unanimously last month to expand the tribe’s roster of attorneys in hopes of moving child custody cases through the courts more efficiently. The cases often take multiple months to reach resolution, prompting complaints from community members. “Looking at the docket there were some months where 70 percent of the cases were continued,” Principal Chief Richard Sneed told Tribal Council Nov. 12. “What that means is you have children who are in protective custody or possibly in foster care or possibly in the children’s home who will continue to reside in that protective custody until the case can be heard.” The attorney general and legal aid offices looked into the issue, and they found that the problem stemmed from the tribe’s reliance on contracted attorneys to represent parents in these cases. “It almost always came back to the fact that there were contract attorneys who were assigned,” said Sneed. “The bottom line is they were not providing services for our people. Our people are not a priority for these contract attorneys.” The tribe spends about $500,000 each year on these contracts but determined that money would be better spent on in-house positions. In addition to helping the cases move more quickly, the changes will help spur a cultural awareness in these court deal-

December 4-10, 2019


“The bottom line is they were not providing services for our people. Our people are not a priority for these contract attorneys.” — Principal Chief Richard Sneed

four attorneys and one paralegal in the Legal Assistance Office. There will also be changes in the title and job descriptions of the manager and two attorneys currently housed in the Legal Assistance Office. The resolution states that tribal leadership is currently identifying vacant positions that can be used to create the new positions “to maintain the practice of

managing net adds of FTEs.” The legislation will create dual offices within the legal aid office so that attorneys there can represent both parents in a dispute without creating a conflict of interest, said Sneed. “We have already started making some of these changes,” said Parker. “Bonnie (Claxton of the Legal Assistance Office) has two attorneys on staff right now that we’ve assigned to start representing both parents in these cases, and we’ve already seen a vast improvement in the time it takes cases to be heard and to get moving. We’ve also started working with the courts so we’ve got one judge who’s handling all of our cases, so we’ve got a consistent person hearing everything, and

that’s helped a whole lot.” The new attorney positions will be tasked with representing the parents in any dispute involving a child who falls under tribal jurisdiction — that is, any child who lives on the Qualla Boundary. So, while enrolled members will doubtless make up the majority of those served by the office, non-enrolled parents will benefit as well. The proposal met with quick favor from councilmembers. “Having them in-house is going to streamline our efforts here for our people,” said Councilmember Boyd Owle, of Birdtown. “I think it’s a great idea, and I appreciate (Attorney General) Mike McConnell for bringing that in.”

Sylva reaches temporary parking agreement with Baptist church

BY HOLLY KAYS STAFF WRITER he quarter-acre parking lot on the corner of Main and Landis streets in Sylva is officially town parking following a 4-1 vote from the town board Nov. 14. The lot, located next to Humanité Boutique, is owned by the Sylva First Baptist Church and has long been used by downtown visitors and workers. The lot had previously been rented, but no agreement has been in place for the last few years. The discussion regarding a potential rental agreement came to the forefront as the church made it clear to the town that it would close the lot to public use if no rental agreement were reached. “I wasn’t aware that for years that lot had been rented,” said Commissioner Mary Gelbaugh as the board discussed the issue Nov. 14. “When I learned that that’s part of their operating expenses I had a different opinion of the issue. That’s something they have depended on. They had a lease for 20something years that they counted on, and the offer they’re making to us is I think half of what they were getting for that lot. So 12 they were trying to meet us in the middle.”


Smoky Mountain News

ings that was “really lacking” from contract attorneys, said Sunshine Parker of the tribe’s Family Safety Program. “We’ve seen all of those barriers, and we would like to overcome those by having that staff that we can train and make sure they actually show up,” Parker said. “That has been half of our battle is getting attorneys to actually show up at the courthouse.” The resolution Tribal Council passed outlined changes to the tribe’s organizational chart that will add a family safety attorney to the Office of the Attorney General as well as

In September, the board voted to authorize a lease of $255 per month to rent the lot, but the church rejected that offer and posted a sign stating that the lot would be closed Nov. 4 in the absence of a rental agreement. After further discussion with town commissioners and business owners, the church agreed to lease the lot for $255 through the end of the fiscal year in June but wants to go up to $400 in July. “I think for the sake of our business community, residents, visitors, that we rent this,” said Commissioner David Nestler. “It’s the same rate that we pay at the Cogdill lot until July, and whoever’s on the board then can decide if they want to renegotiate that lease for different terms. But that keeps it open until then.” Following this year’s election, Nestler and Commissioner Greg McPherson will remain on the board for another four years, with incoming Commissioner Ben Guiney replacing Commissioner Harold Hensley, who opted not to run for re-election. Hensley voiced his opposition to the rental agreement, and to town-held parking leases in general. “I don’t know why taxpayers out there

Owned by the Sylva First Baptist Church on the other side of Landis Street, the parking lot offers easy access to the downtown area. Lilly Knoepp photo that never come to the town of Sylva should be paying for a parking lot for somebody to park in,” he said. “We don’t pay for Lowe’s parking lot or Ingles’ parking lot.” In response, Mayor Lynda Sossamon pointed out that the town doesn’t require downtown businesses to have their own parking lots, whereas businesses in outlying areas such as those where Lowe’s and Ingles are located do have to provide parking. Commissioners also pointed out that the

Presbyterian and Methodist churches allow public parking in their lots, and that First Baptist does as well on the larger lots behind its buildings located across the street from the lot in question. The board ultimately voted 4-1, with Hensley opposed, to approve $2,113 from contingency to keep the lot open through the end of June. The money will cover rent as well as creation of ADA-compliant parking spots on the lot.

Far west counties remain unchanged


Retirement party for Dr. Parker

Mercy Urgent Care opens in Waynesville Mercy Urgent Care will open its newest facility in Waynesville in early 2020. Located just off Exit 102 of the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway, this new urgent care center brings high-quality, affordable and convenient medical care for

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Smoky Mountain News

Haywood Community College’s board of trustees will hold a drop-in retirement reception for College President Dr. Barbara Parker from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, in the lobby of the Charles M. Beall Auditorium. Parker has dedicated 38 years to public education in Western North Carolina, with the last six as president at HCC. In the event of inclement weather and campus closure, the reception will be held 4 to 6 t p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12. 828.627.4516.

non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries to Haywood County. Patients visiting or residing in the Waynesville area will now have access to walk-in care at a fraction of the cost of an ER visit. Mercy Urgent Care Waynesville, located in the Publix Plaza at 124 Frazier St., Suite 6, will be the eighth Western North Carolina location for the nonprofit organization headquartered in Asheville. In addition to services for individuals and families, Mercy Urgent Care Waynesville will offer workplace-related healthcare services through its Mercy Occupational Medicine division. Mercy Occupational Medicine offers board-certified physicians and licensed, highlytrained personnel to meet the needs of businesses and their employees. Mercy Urgent Care, as an independent provider, accepts most major insurances including Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina; offers a self-pay option for those without insurance, with simple, tiered “fee for service” pricing; and has a Compassionate Care financial assistance program for qualifying patients.


December 4-10, 2019

he North Carolina Department of Commerce released the county tier designations for 2020 this week. The designations, which are mandated by state law, play a role in several programs that assist in economic development. The 2020 rankings comply with the methodology prescribed by the North Carolina General Assembly in General Statute §143B-437.08, which identifies four economic factors to be compiled and calcud lated by N.C. Commerce and then used to analyze and rank each of North Carolina’s 100 counties. Each county is then assigned its tier designation ranking from one to three. Tier 1 counties are generally the most ecof nomically distressed and Tier 3 counties are generally the least economically distressed. The rankings are based on an assessment of each county’s unemployment rate, median household income, population growth and assessed property value per capita. The law d calls for 40 counties to be designated as Tier 1, 40 counties to be designated as Tier 2, and 20 counties to be designated Tier 3. r Eight counties will change tier designations for 2020. Counties moving to a less distressed tier ranking include Cleveland, Gates, Hoke and Surry. Counties moving to a more distressed tier ranking include Caldwell, Onslow, Pitt and Wilkes. Macon and Jackson moved up from the most distressed designation of tier 1 in 2018

to tier 2 in 2019, but both counties are unchanged this year. Macon County was moved from a tier 2 to tier 1 county in 2015, mainly because its population is under 50,000 and its poverty rate increased to nearly 20 percent. Jackson County dropped from a tier 2 to a tier 1 county in 2013 and stayed there until 2019 — also mainly due to its population and poverty rate. Haywood County will remain a tier 3 county for the fourth year in a row after moving up from a tier 2 county in 2017. For 2017, Haywood ranked 79 in the Economic Distress Ranking. The rise in the rankings was due to improvements in population growth and median household income. Adjustments for counties with populations less than 50,000 shifted three counties from tier three to tier two, which bumped Haywood County into tier three for 2017. Meanwhile Swain County hasn’t budged from its tier 1 designation in many years. Tier designations determine eligibility and guidelines for several different grant programs that N.C. Commerce administers including the One North Carolina Fund, building reuse, water and sewer infrastructure and the downtown revitalization Main Street program. Tier designations also play a role in the state’s performance-based Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program, serving as a mechanism to channel funds for infrastructure improvements to less populated areas of the state. For more information, visit


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Haywood commissioners hear opioid update BY CORY VAILLANCOURT STAFF WRITER t appears that some progress is being made in the fight against drug addiction in Haywood County, but a recent presentation to Haywood County commissioners proves there’s still a long way to go. “2019 has already been a difficult year,” said Haywood Public Health Director Patrick Johnson. Johnson appeared with Haywood Health and Human Services Agency Public Health Education Supervisor Lauren Wood, as well as Post Overdose Outreach Specialist Jesse Lee Dunlap of the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition. Their presentation centered largely on what are called “deaths of despair,” which include suicides, suicides involving drugs and substance abuse deaths. In Haywood County in 2016, there were nine suicides, but the next year, 2017, that total more than doubled to 20, with five more deaths still under investigation. Numbers were nearly the same in 2018, with 17 suicides and five cases pending. With a month still remaining in 2019, there have officially been 14 suicides, although there remain 17 cases still under investigation. Substance abuse-related deaths, though, have risen steadily over that same period, with 22 in 2016, 28 in 2017, 35 in 2018 and

Smoky Mountain News

December 4-10, 2019


34 this year. Those 17 pending cases will likely add to that total. Of the confirmed substance abuse deaths, 58 were due to alcohol, and 66 due to other drugs. Some of the totals don’t exactly add up, because some of the deaths could involve alcohol, drugs and suicide or any combination thereof. Overdose data as of Oct. 31 show that from 2009 though 2015, opioid, meth and heroin overdoses remained fairly consistent, and fairly flat with less than 50 people a year succumbing to overdose from those particular substances. In 2016, however, meth saw decreases while heroin and opioids began an upswing. Over the last two years, both heroin and opioid overdoses have diminished somewhat, but meth overdoses have begun climbing again. Data over that same timeline show far more acute alcohol intoxication than opioid, heroin and meth overdoses — including a huge jump from less than 100 in 2015 to more than 250 in 2016. They peaked near 350 in 2017, but have been on the decline since. That’s led to a surprising conclusion — the average age of those deaths, according to Johnson, is 51 years of age. With November and December 2019 numbers still to come, Johnson said that there have been 230 alcohol toxicity incidents this year, compared to 47 opioid overdoses, 25

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heroin overdoses and 16 meth overdoses. The work of the Substance Use Prevention Alliance, however, hasn’t all been for naught. SUPA is a member-based coalition consisting of officials from public health and law enforcement as well as professionals from the medical, behavioral, preventative and harm reduction fields. Next steps for SUPA include a focus on youth prevention, reducing barriers to treatment and recovery, and overdose prevention. The North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition has quickly become a force for

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good in the fight against deaths of despair. A Haywood Healthcare Foundation grant will soon begin to fund hepatitis C and postoverdose outreach, but the NCHRC’s work already includes providing syringe access and drug testing materials, safe syringe disposal, post-overdose follow-up and naloxone distribution. Dunlap said that since the introduction of naloxone, a drug that if administered in time can actually reduce some opioid overdoses, more than 200 deaths have already been prevented.

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Dogwood Health Trust will accept applications for its Immediate Opportunities and Needs (ION) grants through Jan. 15, 2020. ION grants will support one-time, immediate needs or opportunities for 501(c)(3) organizations, tribal and government agencies. Examples of need might be replacing a piece of equipment, repairs to a building or vehicle, or purchasing much-needed new computers or software. Examples of an opportunity might be hiring consultants to support strategic planning, fundraising plans or a special IT project. Dogwood Health Trust will accept applications from any organization that is aligned with its work to improve health and wellness and address the social determinants of health in the region. They have identified a goal of

Historical society remembers WWII

The N.C. Department of Transportation is hosting a drop-in public informational meeting for property owners and tenants on N.C. 107 in Sylva. The meeting for the upcoming project will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Dec. 9 in the gymnasium at First United Methodist Church, 77 Jackson St., Sylva. NCDOT is in the process of designing roadway and multi-modal improvements along N.C. 107 from U.S. 23

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Jackson NAACP hosts community forum The Jackson County Branch of the NAACP will host a community event to discuss White Supremacy from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 7, at the UC on the Western Carolina University campus. Business leaders, religious professionals, educators, advocates and nonprofit leaders will come together to develop short-term and long-term interventions and explore ways to communicate both the destructive nature of White Supremacy and the healing nature of Inclusive Excellence. As part of the sessions, NAACP President Enrique Gomez will moderate a panel on the work that the local NAACP branches have been doing on this issue. The event is free and parking is free adjacent to the center. However, attendance is limited to the first 50 registrants, due to space. Child care and transportation, if needed, will be provided. To register, email Carol Hogue at

Smoky Mountain News

Designs developing for N.C. 107 project

Business to Webster Road. Designs for the upcoming project are more than 65 percent complete. Some right of way negotiations have started at the request of property owners. The remaining right of way negotiations will begin in early 2020. The 65 percent maps will be displayed, and project team members will be available at the meeting to answer questions. The public may attend at any time, as no formal presentation will be made at the meeting. Contact Senior Project Engineer Jeanette White at, or Danielle Schwanke at, or call 828.586.2141 for additional information regarding the meeting or the upcoming project.

Cannabinoids are a group of closely related compunds that act on cannbinoid receptors in the body, unique to cannabis (or hemp). The body creates compounds called endocannabinoids, while hemp produces phytocannabinoids, notably cannabidiol. Cannabinoids is traditionally used for pain, sleep, and fibermyalgia.

December 4-10, 2019

Saturday, Dec. 7, marks the 78th anniversary of the Sunday morning attack on the American Army and Navy base in Pearl Harbor by the Imperial Japanese Navy. The attack came as a surprise to the American Army and Navy and led to great losses of life and equipment. More than 2,000 American citizens were killed and more than 1,000 were injured. The Haywood County Historical & Genealogical Society will hold its last General Membership meeting at 10 a.m. Dec. 7 at the Waynesville Branch of the Haywood County Library. The program for this meeting will be the annual “Show & Tell” meeting, with a focus on WWII by asking all to bring an artifact that represents the WWII era. If you have a family member that was in WWII, bring something that represents their involvement. If not, bring an artifact that helps all remember this difficult time in our history that created what most refer to as “the Greatest Generation” of Americans. All are welcome to participate or just attend for sharing memories. Contact the HCHGS at 828.275.4057 for any questions.

making at least one grant in each of the 18 counties and tribal lands within their service area and they intend to allocate at least 30 percent of ION grants to proposals that advance equity or reduce disparities. Grants during the inaugural round of funding will range from $500 to $25,000. The ION grant application is short, simple, and available online at Grant applications are due Jan. 15, 2020, and funds will be distributed in early March. For more information or to determine if your organization qualifies, contact If you encounter any technical difficulties while completing the online application, you are encouraged to call 828.771.7983 for assistance. To learn more, visit

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Join local author and Smoky Mountain News columnist, Susanna Shetley, for a meet and greet event on Saturday, December 14 from 3-5PM at Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville! Event is free and will include refreshments, a kids' art activity and more! 15


Smoky Mountain News December 4-10, 2019



Smoky Mountain News

These awards will be presented at The Annual Awards Banquet and Chamber Annual Meeting at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 16 at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts. For additional information, contact the chamber at 828.524.3161.

Jackson GOP celebrates new headquarters

2019 JACKSON CITIZENS ACADEMY GRADS The Jackson County Citizens Academy recently graduated its class of 2019. Graduates include Steve White, (first row from left) Tracie Metz, Priscilla Neale, Joyce Stratton, Todd Vinyard, Cynthia Phipps, Scott McConnell, Natalie Newman; Monica Lawson, (middle row from left) Nancy McConnell, Traci Long, Jill Wolfe; Lorna Barnett, (back row from left) Sonja Blanton, Penny Smith, Bill Burke, Lyn Carver, Mark Letson, Amanda Buscemi, Roy Osborn, Gary Long and Marcus Metcalf. Not pictured are Jennie Ashlock and Chris Stuckey.

Restaurant staff invited to Jackson meeting The Jackson County Department of Public Health will host the first Restaurant Enrichment Meeting & Luncheon from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Dec. 17 at Southwestern Community College’s Burrell Building. This meeting serves as an opportunity for restaurant owners and staff to connect with JCDPH Environmental Health staff, learn more about specific topics, and network with each other. The first meeting will include an openended Q&A session led by Environmental Health Specialists from Jackson County and the NC Department of Health and Human Services. Staff from the NC Department of Agriculture will share a presentation on meat and poultry. Additionally, a representative from Southwestern Community College’s Small Business Center will share information for restaurant owners. For questions about the meeting, contact Environmental Health Program Coordinator, Travis Monteith at 828.587.8246 or RSVP is requested; participants are encouraged to do so by calling 828.587.8250.

Taqueria Reyes opens in Franklin The Franklin Chamber of Commerce recently held a ribbon-cutting celebration recently for one of its newest members, Taqueria Reyes Mexican Restaurant located at 3586 Georgia Road next to Whistlestop Furniture. Owners Ruben Gonazlez and wife Blanka

Reyes opened the restaurant bringing authentic Mexican cuisine to Franklin with an upbeat family atmosphere. Taqueria Reyes is open every day with the exception of Tuesday. The restaurant features scratch made tortillas, delicious tacos and a variety of specialty drinks. In addition to the great food they also have a bilingual staff that provides fast and friendly service for dine-in and take-out. Call 828.371.6552

The Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors recently held a ribbon cutting/grand opening ceremony for its new members at the Jackson County Republican Party. Located at 52 Front Street in Dillsboro, the Jackson County Republican Club, formed for the purpose of uniting and coordinating the principles of the party, actively organizes Republican activities in Jackson County. The club’s mission is to communicate a conservative message and Republican ideology throughout the community and to support and assure the election of local, district, state and national Republican candidates. The JCGOP can be reached by phone at 828.293.6022 or visit the website at

Franklin chamber accepting nominations The Franklin Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for four prestigious awards, Citizen of the Year, The Duke Power Citizenship and Service Award, Youth Citizenship Award and Club/Organization of the Year. The Citizen of the Year Award recognizes an individual who significantly contributes to the community and is an inspirational role model. This is the most coveted award given by the Chamber of Commerce. The Duke Power Citizenship and Service Award recognizes and rewards leadership and/or involvement in volunteerism and community services to an individual, team or group. The Youth Citizenship Award recognizes a youth who has shown a strong interest in serving in their communities and volunteering to help others. The Club/Organization of the Year Award is presented to the most outstanding club or Organization. Nomination letters can be delivered to the Franklin Chamber of Commerce at 98 Hyatt Road or emailed to Nomination deadline is 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec.18.

In Your Ear celebrates 25th anniversary The Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Ambassador team recently participated in a celebration at In Your Ear Music Emporium in Sylva, recognizing their 25th year of being in business. In Your Ear offers a wide range of new & used CDs, vinyl, instruments & accessories, tapestries, incense, body jewelry, posters, stickers, smoke shop items, CBD and more. They are located at 573 West Main Street in Sylva. For more information, call 828.586.6404 or visit them on Facebook.

Harrah’s receives Readers’ Choice award ConventionSouth Magazine has presented Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort with a 2019 Readers’ Choice Award. ConventionSouth is a


national multimedia resource for planning events in the South and this is the third time Harrah’s Cherokee has received the award. “ConventionSouth readers and fans have voted to decide the best meeting sites in the South, and it is no surprise to us that Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort has been selected to receive our annual Readers’ Choice Award,” said ConventionSouth Senior Editor Marcia Bradford. Throughout 2019 over 7,000 voters participated in the selection process with the highest participation rates to date. Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort conference resources are expanding to add 83,000 square feet of convention space in addition to 725 new hotel rooms. The Cherokee Convention Center and The Cherokee at Harrah’s Cherokee are slated to open in 2021.

New event venue in Macon

The Franklin Chamber of Commerce recently held a ribbon cutting celebration at Otto Pond Events, located at 2670 Cowetta Church Road, Franklin. If you’re planning a wedding, anniversary or event and are looking for a spectacular view including a pond, Otto Pond Events has a large space available for Saturday or Sunday events. Ideal size is up to 100 people. If it’s warm, open up the oversized doors and bring nature in. Take a stroll on the four acres which used to contain the garden of an old farm. For more information, call 828.524.2722 or visit • The Smoky Mountain Host Annual Meeting will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, at Harrah’s Cherokee Resort. This year’s meeting will focus on Regional Strategic Planning for the Outdoor Recreation Economy and will feature as the guest speaker the new NC Outdoor Recreation Industry Office Director, Amy Allison. This event is free to regional partners, includes lunch, and is an excellent networking opportunity. Email your RSVP to Karen Whitener; • The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad is offering special discounts to Swain County residents. Good for coach class and open air gondola seating. Regular excursions are only $25 for adults and $15 for kids. Call 800.872.4681 to make your reservation today.


• If any Franklin merchant would like to use antique toys in their Christmas display they are welcome to do so for free by contacting Jim Geary at Down Memory Lane Toy Museum at 828.421.7280 or come see him at the museum in Cowee School on Thursday, Friday or Saturday.



Smoky Mountain News

Trump overplays his hand with military U

DBD bill won’t help anyone To the Editor: Back on Oct. 3 at WCU’s Opioid Town Hall, I found myself applauding Sen. Jim Davis, R-Macon, for his evolution from a “just say no” stance on drugs to a pro-harm reduction position. It’s nothing short of a miracle to have such a drastic change in point-of-view in such a short amount of time. I (and the senator himself ) credit that miracle to the empirical evidence presented to the senator by Tessie Castillo, a harm reduction expert. Sen. Davis claims to be a data-driven person, and with Castillo’s extensive knowledge of the facts surrounding harm reduction, a thinking person would find it difficult to oppose harm reduction efforts after spending time with her. Where the senator does not embrace data is in championing the Death-By-Distribution (DBD) bill that went into effect Sunday, Dec. 1. Sen. Davis says he helped draft Death-ByDistribution because Bill Hollingsed came to him as Chief of Waynesville Police and said,

Americans. A Pew survey from July showed that our military was second only to scientists as one of the most trusted groups in the nation. About 83 percent of people expressed confidence in the armed forces. That number was higher than for other revered institutions like public schools (80 percent) and local police officers (78 percent). But this presidency could change all of this. Instead of letting the chain of command handle discipline among the troops, he has stepped into at least three cases and over-ruled military courts and tribunals. Let’s look at the cases he’s gotten involved in. Clint Lorance, an Army lieutenant, ordered his men to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men riding past on a motorcycle, killing two of them. He Editor was sentenced to 19 years in prison for murder. Green Beret Maj. Matthew Golsteyn was facing murder charges after admitting that he had killed an unarmed detainee and burned the corpse while serving in Afghanistan in 2010. Trump pardoned both men. Then there’s the case of Navy Seal Edward Gallagher. He was originally charged with murder — after being turned in by his own team members — but convicted of the war crime of taking a photo with a corpse. The Navy was to decide whether he would retire as a member of the elite Seal unit — again, a decision that would come from a tribunal made up of four other Seals of similar rank — when Trump Tweeted his intervention, reversing the conviction and allowing him to keep the Seal Trident. A couple of days later Navy Secretary Richard Spencer was fired, and so military personnel are left to wonder whether politics now rules the day instead of the tradition and discipline that has been instilled in them since their enlistment. Trump’s actions, according to almost all observers, were prompted by opinions voiced by commenta-

Scott McLeod

nder this commander-in-chief, war criminals are framed as heroes for political gains with his base while veterans who served with honor for decades are vilified. Of all of President Trump’s outrageous, disruptive behavior, it’s his unmilitary like actions toward our soldiers in uniform that roil me the most. We are fast becoming a nation with little real-world knowledge of what it means to serve. It’s almost a generation since we’ve had the draft, and today’s military has fewer active-duty soldiers in relation to the nation’s population than at any time since the Civil War. I was raised by a father who was a Master Chief Petty Officer — the highest possible enlisted rank — who saw nothing out of the ordinary in snapping his fingers to get our attention, pointing to a clothing rack in whatever store we were in, and me and my brothers knowing that meant lining up against it while he and mom browsed the wares. I wouldn’t call it standing at attention, but it was something like that. He suspected, rightly, that we’d be doing something wrong and this was how he enforced discipline and made sure the shopping got done as quickly as possible. No questions asked. I’m nearing 60 years old and have never served in the U.S. military. But I have an unending affinity born of my father’s service — 24 years — a host of family members who have served, and a youth spent growing up on military bases and then later in Fayetteville, where we lived just a stone’s throw to the country’s largest military complex. Nearly all the kids in my neighborhood had ties to Ft. Bragg or Pope Air Force Base. That discipline my father expected of us is just one of the traits that makes our soldiers the most respected in the world. Other countries accept our troops not just because we are the best fighting force but because they know our troops have discipline, honor and integrity — and that if they screw up our military establishment will mete out its own very strong punishment. This view of the military is still held by a great majority of

“I’m tired of putting young people in body bags.” While that is a compelling statement from a highly-respected law enforcement officer, it is not data. The data on death-by-distribution laws is that they put more young people in body bags. The four states with the strictest death-by-distribution laws (W.V., Ohio, Ill., Penn.) have fatal opioid overdoses that continue to increase in contrast to the rest of the nation, which are finally beginning to plateau.  With DBD now in effect, based on the data, we can fully expect the opioid overdose death rate to change in our state for the worse. There is concern also that the 2013 Good Samaritan (Good Sam) Law will be kneecapped by the DBD statute. The provisions that protect caller and overdose victim from legal repercussions in a 911 response are already largely disregarded — people who need medical treatment often find themselves handcuffed as soon as they come-to or find themselves with charges, parole violations, etc. when Good Sam protects them from such. What should be a medical issue contin-


tors on the Fox News shows he is apparently obsessed with. It’s not just these three interventions in criminal proceedings involving troops that have revealed Trump’s problem in dealing with the military. He came into office surrounding himself with soldiers, jokingly referring to “my generals” as he appointed many to important posts early in his presidency. They are all gone now, either victim to Trump’s capricious decision-making or a personal grudge: Gen. James Mattis (whom Trump referred to as the “world’s most overrated general” after he quit), Gen. Stan McChrystal, Admiral Bill McRaven, and now Navy Secretary Richard Spencer. Not to mention Army Lt. Col. Alex Vindman, a Ukraine expert and member of Trump’s National Security Council, a veteran who earned a Purple Heart while serving. After his testimony in the impeachment hearings, Trump referred to him as a “never Trumper” and said he may have more information to release about the colonel. No new information has been released, but Fox News hosts have called into question his ethics, his patriotism and even insinuated that he could be committing treason. As a young man, I rebelled against that discipline and honor code that was part and parcel of the military, that my father expected of me as a teen. I got the hell out of Fayetteville and had no plans to return. But as I grew up, held jobs in the real world, got married and raised a family, I learned to admire those who embody the values that are a necessary part of a moral, courageous and honorable military. It’s a mix of bravery and humility, restraint and aggression, but always honor and integrity. Trump, a draft dodger who would not have made it out of boot camp let alone a tour of duty, embodies the opposite values: he’s undisciplined, dishonest, belittles those who disagree with him, and lacks integrity. I suspect — and pray — our military traditions will survive in spite of this president, but I’ve been wrong before. (Scott McLeod can be reached at

Susanna Shetley


Congress should fix drug prices To the Editor: I am an older American and live on a fixed income. Some seniors have to choose between their medicines and putting food on the table. That isn’t right. Congress should get together to fix this and control the price of drugs. It is necessary to do and would be appreciated. Mr. Bob Hunter LakeJunaluska

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Smoky Mountain News

that, I found a number of essential oils, tinctures, herbs, minerals and vitamins that naturally help with serotonin levels. Interestingly, I’ve also found that exercise is a powerful antidote to depression and anxiety. This was a recent discovery for me. I’ve heard for years that exercise releases endorphins and blah, blah, blah, so why I only felt the effects as of late I’m not sure. The holidays are typically hard for me and have been since my mom passed. This year is particularly hard because my boys are with their dad on Christmas Eve; however, I’ve been feeing lighter lately. Then, I stopped exercising for about a week due to a back joint issue. I felt some twinges of the ol’ melancholy. I immediately tied my running shoes back on and things improved. Here’s the cool part. If you struggle with depression or anxiety, don’t think you have to run a marathon to access those luxurious endorphins. Through some research I’ve learned that as little as 15 minutes of exercise does the trick. What’s important is consistency over time. Working out 15 minutes sporadically here and there won’t offer longterm benefits. While it may boost your mood momentarily, it won’t offer therapeutic help. I’ve also been learning about foods that help with low mood. The Western diet — which is heavy in fat, protein and dairy — is terrible for the brain and, subsequently, horrible for our emotions. In contrast, a Mediterranean diet, which includes fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, olive oil, whole grains and red wine (in moderation) is not only good for our mental health but also our physical health. Despite ranking eighth in the world for income per capita, the U.S. ranks 43rd for lifespan. When comparing this to some of the countries best-known for the Mediterranean diet, Italy ranks 25th for income per capita and is 6th for lifespan, according to the World Health Organization; Israel is 21st for income and 8th for lifespan; France is 19th for income and 9th for lifespan. I know that, unfortunately, some people try everything and nothing seems to attack those dark emotions. I also know for other people a combination of pharmaceuticals, exercise and diet seems to work. To each their own when it comes to living our best lives. As I enter into this holiday season and a New Year, my goal is to continue utilizing the tactics that work and to explore others. Just like all beautiful and complex machines, it takes a little work and effort to keep the mind and body functioning optimally. Luckily, I’ve never been afraid of a little work and effort, especially when the reward is so great. (Susanna Shetley holds numerous job titles for The Smoky Mountain News, Smoky Mountain Livin and Mountain South Media.

December 4-10, 2019

was recently introduced to a book called What Made Maddy Run written by reporter Kate Fagan. It’s the story of a beautiful, smart, talented college freshman who jumped to her death from the top of a parking garage in downtown Philadelphia. Madison Holleran was the perfect allAmerican girl on a track scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania when the pressures of perColumnist fection and the demons within created a toxic cocktail. Maddy’s story is one of millions. Depression is a legitimate illness. For some it’s overwhelming and even unbearable. The reasons and genetics surrounding individual experiences vary, but the feelings of hopelessness and helplessness are a common thread. My grandmother used to have “spells” and took medicine for her bouts of sadness and depression. She would sometimes stay in bed for days. Growing up, I knew she was often sick, but it wasn’t until I was older that I fully understood the gravity of what she was going through. Mental health issues are hereditary. My grandmother’s tendencies toward melancholy trickled down to all the women in the family, including me. I suffered from some postpartum depression but was gratefully able to get through those challenging early months of motherhood. I’ve also had a number of friends who’ve suffered from post-partum depression and postpartum psychosis. It’s a disturbing feeling to be holding a precious new life in your arms but not feeling the happiness you know you should be feeling. Depression can also be exacerbated by life circumstances such as death of a loved one, losing a job or any other significant change. When my mom passed away and I went through a divorce within the same year, I retreated into a dark place. My faith along with my two little boys pulled me from the mire. I tried a number of things to battle the sadness, even prescription medication, which I found wasn’t for me. It made me feel numb to everything. I remember not being able to cry or craft written prose because while the medicine did help with the low mood, it also cut off all other emotions. It made me feel indifferent and despondent, so I stopped taking it. After a couple of years experimenting with a plethora of natural remedies, I’ve created a regimen that works relatively well. My own brain, with it’s overthinking and perseverating, can be my worst enemy. That’s just something I’ve had to accept. Aside from

ues to have punitive repercussions. So, in this marginalized population, who are already resistant to seeking medical attention when they need it, DBD will further alienate them from medical care as now an association with an overdose victim could mean a murder charge. “Don’t run, call 911,” is effectively out the window. When asked for comment on DBD’s effect on Good Sam, Sen. Davis claimed he’d made especially certain to not dilute Good Sam when authoring DBD, but when pressed to say how exactly he’d protected Good Sam, Sen. Davis replied, “I’m not a lawyer.” This answer is troublesome to folks who want to see overdose deaths decline. Then Sen. Davis went on to say the intention of DBD is to remove “bad players.” “Bad players” is really more accurately “desperate players” in a very not fun game of punishing people with a serious medical condition called Substance Use Disorder. And desperate players do desperate things, such as leaving their friends to die if they face the possibility of 40 years in prison for sharing drugs. That is how I lost my cousin 10 years ago, and while my initial response

was anger directed at the people she was doing drugs with, that anger was misdirected. And data, cold hard facts, are what altered my view of the situation. It would not do my heart or society any good to have the kids my cousin was partying with put in a cage, punished. Substance Use Disorder is punishment enough. The thing that will heal my heart and society is to put resources toward evidence-based solutions to support people living with Substance Use Disorder. Jesse-lee Dunlap North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC)


Food and exercise make good medicine


@SmokyMtnNews 19

tasteTHE mountains 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

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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.


Real New Yorkers. Real Italians. Real Pizza. Dine-In ~ Take Out ~ Delivery


Large Cheese Pizza December 4-10, 2019


9.95 + tax

11AM to 9PM 243 Paragon Parkway | Clyde

828-476-5058 Mon-Sat 11 a.m. to 9 p.m Closed Sundays

10% OFF for LOCALS

Smoky Mountain News


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BLUE ROOSTER SOUTHERN GRILL 207 Paragon Parkway, Clyde, Lakeside Plaza at the old Wal-Mart. 828.456.1997. Open Monday through Friday. Friendly and fun family atmosphere. Local, handmade Southern cuisine. Fresh-cut salads; slow-simmered soups; flame grilled burgers and steaks, and homemade signature desserts. Blue-plates and local fresh vegetables daily. Brown bagging is permitted. Private parties, catering, and take-out available. Call-ahead seating available. BOOJUM BREWING COMPANY 50 N Main Street, Waynesville. 828.246.0350. Taproom Open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday & Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Gem Bar Open Tuesday through Sunday 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. Enjoy lunch, dinner or drinks at Boojum’s Downtown Waynesville restaurant & bar. Choose from 16 taps of our fresh, delicious & ever rotating Boojum Beer plus cider, wine & craft cocktails. The taproom features seasonal pub faire including tasty burgers, sandwiches, shareables and daily specials that pair perfectly with our beer. Cozy up inside or take in the mountain air on our back deck." BOURBON BARREL BEEF & ALE 454 Hazelwood Ave., Waynesville, 828.452.9191. Lunch daily 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; dinner nightly at 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday. Wine Down Wednesday’s: ½ off wine by the bottle. We specialize in handcut, all natural steaks from local farms, incredible burgers, and other classic american comfort foods that are made using only the finest local and sustainable ingredients 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. CHURCH STREET DEPOT 34 Church Street, downtown Waynesville. 828.246.6505. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Mouthwatering all beef burgers and dogs, hand-dipped, hand-spun real ice cream shakes and floats, fresh hand-

cut fries. Locally sourced beef. Indoor and outdoor dining., 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 THE CLASSIC WINESELLER 20 Church Street, Waynesville. 828.452.6000. Underground retail wine and craft beer shop, restaurant, and intimate live music venue. Kitchen opens at 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday serving freshly prepared small plates, tapas, charcuterie, desserts. Enjoy live music every Friday and Saturday night at 7pm. Also on facebook and twitter. COUNTRY VITTLES: FAMILY STYLE RESTAURANT 3589 Soco Rd, Maggie Valley. 828.926.1820 Winter hours: Wednesday through Sunday 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Family Style at Country Vittles is not a buffet. Instead our waitresses will bring your food piping hot from the kitchen right to your table and as many refills as you want. So if you have a big appetite, but sure to ask your waitress about our family style service. EVERETT HOTEL & BISTRO 16 Everett St.,Bryson City. 828.488.1934. Open daily for dinner at 4:30 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday Brunch from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; dinner from 4:30-9:30 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. 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. FERRARA PIZZA & PASTA 243 Paragon Parkway, Clyde. 828.476.5058. Open Monday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday 12 to 8 p.m. Real New Yorkers. Real Italians. Real Pizza. A full service authentic Italian pizzeria and restaurant from New York to the Blue Ridge. Dine in, take out, and delivery. Check out our daily lunch specials plus customer appreciation nights on Monday and Tuesday 5 to 9 p.m. with large cheese pizzas for $9.95. FIREFLY TAPS & GRILL 128 N. Main St., Waynesville 828.454.5400. Simple, delicious food. A must experience in WNC. Located in downtown Waynesville with an atmosphere that will warm your heart and your belly! Local and regional beers on tap. Full bar, vegetarian options, kids menu, and more. Reservations accepted. Daily specials. Live music every Saturday from 7 to 10 p.m. Open Mon.-Sat. 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

FROGS LEAP PUBLIC HOUSE 44 Church St., Downtown Waynesville 828.456.1930 Serving dinner 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. 5 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday. 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. Reservations accepted. HARMON’S DEN BISTRO 250 Pigeon St., Waynesville 828.456.6322. Harmon’s Den is located in the Fangmeyer Theater at HART. Open 5:309 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday (Bistro closes at 7:30 p.m. on nights when there is a show in the Fangmeyer Theater) with Sunday brunch at 11 a.m. that includes breakfast and lunch items. Harmon’s Den offers a complete menu with cocktails, wine list, and area beers on tap. Enjoy casual dining with the guarantee of making it to the performance in time, then rub shoulders with the cast afterward with post-show food and beverage service. Reservations recommended. HAZELWOOD FARMACY & SODA FOUNTAIN 429 Hazelwood Avenue, Waynesville. 828.246.6996. Open six days a week, closed Wednesday. 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday brunch 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Breakfast until noon, old-fashioned luncheonette and diner comfort food. Historic full service soda fountain. J. ARTHUR’S RESTAURANT AT MAGGIE VALLEY U.S. 19 in Maggie Valley. 828.926.1817. Open for dinner at 4:30 Tuesday through Sunday. World-famous prime rib, steaks, fresh seafood, gorgonzola cheese and salads. All ABC permits and open year-round. Children always welcome. Take-out menu. Excellent service and hospitality. JOEY'S PANCAKE HOUSE 4309 Soco Rd Maggie Valley. 828.926.0212. Open seven days a week! 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. Joey’s is a family-friendly restaurant that has been serving breakfast to locals and visitors of Western North Carolina for decades. Featuring a large variety of tempting pancakes, golden waffles, country style cured ham and seasonal specials spiked with flavor, Joey's is sure to please all appetites. Join us for what has become a tradition in these parts, breakfast at Joey’s. JUKEBOX JUNCTION U.S. 276 and N.C. 110 intersection, Bethel. 828.648.4193. 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday; Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Serving breakfast, lunch, nd dinner. The restaurant has a 1950s & 60s theme decorated with memorabilia from that era. KANINI’S 1196 N. Main St., Waynesville. 828.452.5187. Lunch Monday-Saturday from 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., eat in or carry out. Closed Sunday. A made-from-scratch kitchen using fresh ingredients. Offering a variety of meals to go from frozen meals to be stored and cooked later to “Dinners to Go” that are made fresh and ready to enjoyed that day. We also specialize in catering any event from from corporate lunches to weddings.

tasteTHE mountains MAD BATTER FOOD & FILM 617 W. Main Street Downtown Sylva. 828.586.3555. Open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. with Sunday Brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Hand-tossed pizza, house-ground burgers, steak sandwiches & fresh salmon all from scratch. Casual family friendly atmosphere. Craft beer and interesting wine. Free movies Thursday through Saturday. Visit for this week’s shows & events. MAGGIE VALLEY CLUB 1819 Country Club Dr., Maggie Valley. 828.926.1616. Open seasonally for lunch and dinner. Fine and casual fireside dining in welcoming atmosphere. Full bar. Reservations accepted. MAGGIE VALLEY RESTAURANT 2804 Soco Road, Maggie Valley. 828.926.0425. 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Daily specials including soups, sandwiches and southern dishes along with featured dishes such as fresh fried chicken, rainbow trout, country ham, pork chops and more. Breakfast all day including omelets, pancakes, biscuits & gravy.; instagram @carvers_mvr.

with all the fixings, $11.95. Check out our events and menu at SAGEBRUSH STEAKHOUSE 1941 Champion Drive, Canton 828.646.3750 895 Russ Ave., Waynesville 828.452.5822. Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Carry out available. Sagebrush features hand carved steaks, chicken and award winning BBQ ribs. We have fresh salads, seasonal vegetables and scrumptious deserts. Extensive selection of local craft beers and a full bar. Catering special events is one of our specialties. SMOKY MOUNTAIN SUB SHOP 29 Miller Street Waynesville 828.456.3400. Open from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. A Waynesville tradition, the Smoky Mountain Sub Shop has been serving great food for over 20 years. Come in and enjoy the relaxed, casual atmosphere. Sub breads are baked fresh every morning in Waynesville. Using only the freshest ingredients in home-made soups, salads and sandwiches. Come in and see for yourself why Smoky Mountain Sub Shop was voted # 1 in Haywood County. Locally owned and operated.

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.

TAP ROOM BAR & GRILL 176 Country Club Drive, Waynesville. 828.456.3551. Open seven days a week serving lunch and dinner. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tucked away inside Waynesville Inn, the Tap Room Bar & Grill has an approachable menu designed around locally sourced, sustainable, farm-to-table ingredients. Full bar and wine cellar.

PIGEON RIVER GRILLE 101 Park St., Canton. 828.492.1422. Open Tuesday through Thursday 3 to 8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday noon to 9 p.m.; Sunday noon to 6 p.m. Southern-inspired restaurant serving simply prepared, fresh food sourced from top purveyors. Located riverside at Bearwaters Brewing, enjoy daily specials, sandwiches, wings, fish and chips, flatbreads, soups, salads, and more. Be sure to save room for a slice of the delicious house made cake. Relaxing inside/outside dining and spacious gathering areas for large groups.

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.

RENDEZVOUS RESTAURANT AND BAR Maggie Valley Inn and Conference Center 70 Soco Road, Maggie Valley 828.926.0201 Home of the Maggie Valley Pizzeria. We deliver after 4 p.m. daily to all of Maggie Valley, J-Creek area, and Lake Junaluska. Monday through Wednesday: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. country buffet and salad bar from 5 to 9 p.m. $11.95 with Steve Whiddon on piano. Friday and Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday 11:30 to 8 p.m. 11:30 to 3 p.m. family style, fried chicken, ham, fried fish, salad bar, along

WAYNESVILLE PIZZA COMPANY 32 Felmet Street, Waynesville. 828.246.0927. Open Monday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.; Sunday noon to 9 p.m.; closed Tuesdays. Opened in May 2016, The Waynesville Pizza Company has earned a reputation for having the best hand-tossed pizza in the area. Featuring a custom bar with more than 20 beers and a rustic, family friendly dining room. Menu includes salads, burgers, wraps, hot and cold sandwiches, gourmet pizza, homemade desserts, and a loaded salad bar. The Cuban sandwich is considered by most to be the best in town.




Monday, Tuesday Wednesday Thursday, Friday Saturday Sunday Brunch

7:30am to 4pm Closed 7:30am to 4pm 8am to 4pm 9am to 3pm

Wine • Port • Champagne Cigars • Gifts


20 Church Street Downtown Waynesville


Tue-Thurs 12- 9 p.m • Fri-Sat: 12- 10 p.m. Sunday: 12- 9 p.m. • Monday: Closed



10:00AM - 6:00PM



Daily Specials: Soups, Sandwiches & Southern Dishes

Mon/Wed/Thurs 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Friday/Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Closed Tuesday

Sunday 12-9 p.m.

Sandwiches • Burgers • Wraps 32 Felmet Street (828) 246-0927

Featured Dishes: Fresh Fried Chicken, Rainbow Trout, Country Ham, Pork-chops & more

Breakfast : Omelets, Pancakes, Biscuits & Gravy!

Breakfast served all day! OPEN DAILY 7 A.M. TO 8 P.M. SUNDAY 8 A.M. TO 8 P.M. CLOSED TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY 2804 SOCO RD. • MAGGIE VALLEY 828.926.0425 • Instagram- @carvers_mvr


Smoky Mountain News

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.


34 CHURCH ST. WAYNESVILLE 828.246.6505

December 4-10, 2019

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.

828-246-6996 429 Hazelwood Avenue Waynesville

207 Paragon Parkway, Clyde

828-456-1997 Monday-Friday Open at 11am

Real Local Families, Real Local Farms, Real Local Food 21



Smoky Mountain News

State lines and hard times Arnold Hill.

Arnold Hill releases new album, offers holiday shows

BY GARRET K. WOODWARD STAFF WRITER mid the plethora of talented bluegrass, Americana and string acts in Western North Carolina, the idea of a rock trio is more so a rarity than something one might come across in regional musical circles. And with its debut album, “Back to Life,” Arnold Hill sets to change the tone and tempo of what folks might expect on a given night onstage at their nearby bars and breweries in our mountain communities. Formed in 2011, the Jackson County band is named after a road in Sylva where the musicians lived and practiced. In method, Arnold Hill adheres to the playful nature and creative possibilities that reside in a trio. The unique formation can be a tricky line to balance, where you have enough space to explore musically, but also the same amount of space to expose vulnerabilities. But, for Arnold Hill, it uses the trio setting to radiate an air-tight presentation. With a thick thread of catchy alternative rock running through its core, the band doesn’t shy away from its country and singer-songwriter influences either on “Back to Life.” The 10


Want to go? Arnold Hill will be hitting the stage at 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, in The Gem downstairs taproom at Boojum Brewing in Waynesville. The trio will also perform at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, at the Lazy Hiker Brewing taproom in Sylva; at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Nantahala Brewing outpost in Sylva; and at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at Elevated Mountain Distilling in Maggie Valley. For more information on the group, visit You can purchase/stream “Back to Life” on all online music services. song LP finally takes the group out of the live realm and puts its skill set to the test in a professional studio — something strongly proven on the record. Smoky Mountain News: With “Back to Life,” tell me about the songwriting process and what the band experienced and ultimately took away from the sessions? Sam McCarson (bass/vocals): The album was recorded this past July and August at Giraffe Studio with record producer/engineer Andy Bishop in Hendersonville. All of the songs on the album were written both years and weeks before the album was recorded, but we played about 12 gigs in two months prior to recording which made the process go smoothly. By the time we were in the studio, we had the instrumentation basically perfected and that gave us the ability to fine-tune our vocals and solos, instead of doing take after take of the basic structures of the songs. SMN: What do you see when you look at and listen to all the local groups here west of Asheville? What makes this scene unique, and what will ensure its survival moving forward? Heath Brown (drums/vocals): We’re incredibly blessed to know and have shared stages with many of the bands in Western North Carolina. I think it’s amazing that this area is finally being recognized for the

“There is always at least one person who comes up to us after the show, raving about our original music. Just one person who is willing to hear us and enjoy us makes the show worth playing. “ — Mike Yow, guitar/vocals

amount of talent in this part of the country. The best part about the music scene here is that I haven’t felt like it’s a competition, which can happen in most cases elsewhere. If someone from one band needs something, someone else is going to help that person. We’re a community within a community — the support is overwhelming in the best way possible. Smoky Mountain News: In an uncertain era of the music industry, what is it that keeps you going and inspired to push ahead and overcome the tough challenges of being a musical act that records and performs in the digital age?

Mike Yow (guitar/vocals): One of our songs from the album, “Barroom Troubadour,” is my story of what happens when the music you’re playing becomes less important than the crowd you’re playing for. Americana doesn’t care about what will appease the masses. It cares about the ones who care to listen. The best thing about our shows is that there is always at least one person who comes up to us after the show, raving about our original music. Just one person who is willing to hear us and enjoy us makes the show worth playing.

SMN: What does the live setting spark within you, and also within your band? HB: Playing live music is, without a doubt, my favorite thing to do in the world. I will complain about having to load and unload drums, but when I’m actually playing and people are responding then it makes it all worth it. It is my absolute comfort zone and it is where I am myself. I can be expressive and get out any emotion that I have while playing music. The best part is that we all know and read each other so well that it becomes more of a show for the audience. We’ve been friends for so long and have spent so much time together, that we can laugh and sing onstage and that energy translates to the listener — live and in the recording booth.

This must be the place BY GARRET K. WOODWARD

And what it all comes down to, is that everything’s gonna be fine

HOT PICKS 1 2 3 4 5

The 36th annual “Lights & Luminaries” will return to the streets of downtown Dillsboro from 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 6-7 and 13-14. Acclaimed singer-songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman will perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin.

y eyelids fluttered open and it took me a couple moments to realize The second annual “Bluegrass Boogie” will be that I was in my apartment held at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, in The and it was Thanksgiving Gem downstairs taproom at Boojum Brewing morning. After a wild, rauin Waynesville. cous Thanksgiving Eve bouncing through the fine establishThe old-fashioned “Cowee Christmas” will be ments of downtown held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at Waynesville, it was time to the school in Franklin. dust myself off and be ready Frog Level Brewing (Waynesville) will host for the impending dinner. Billingsley (jam/rock) 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. Rolling up to my place less than an hour later, my good friend picked me up and we loved ones at the dinner table, whether it be headed for my boss’ (Scott McLeod) with my publisher’s extended family in Thanksgiving celebration at his sister-inAsheville or my best friend’s family in law’s welcoming abode in Asheville. Knoxville, Tennessee. And, for the last few Somewhat fashionably late, we told tall tales years, I’ve found refuge during the holidays of past Thanksgiving shenanigans en route with the McLeods — a jovial and warm to the meal while navigating the bustling bunch of folks who’d do anything for anyone. holiday traffic on I-40. With the McLeod clan, it’s football and Seeing as my immediate family is some hockey on TV, smiles and hugs in every 1,100 miles from Western North Carolina in direction, sharing the last year of memories Upstate New York, I’ve spent numerous and achievements with each other, all folTurkey Days at the homes of incredible lowed by a holiday feast for an army. And, friends across Southern Appalachia since I like clockwork, a hearty and competitive moved here in 2012. Seeing as I really only game of charades follows the pickup of dirty get home about once a year or so, I use that opportunity to be back in the North Country dishes, just after coffee and dessert is served. At one point in the dinner, anyone could for Christmas,especially since the arrival of stand up and say what they were thankful my niece five years ago. for. Never one to be bashful in public, I By now, I genuinely know all of those


stood up and raised my wine glass to everyone present, stating truthfully, “I may be over a thousand miles from home, but being here with y’all makes the distance seem that much closer.” A couple hours later, it was smiles and hugs goodbye — until next time, and Merry Christmas to you and yours. The next morning, I motored over the Great Smoky Mountains for the annual “Beersgiving” on Black Friday at a buddy’s house in downtown Knoxville. Meeting up with my best friend, he, his wife and I took off for the party, where each attendee (many dear friends nowadays) brings a new and interesting craft beer to share with the group present. In its 11th year, I’ve happily been part of the last six “Beersgiving” gettogethers. And just like my Turkey Day in Asheville, I found myself looking around the Knoxville party from time-to-time, thinking to myself how lucky I am to have such beautiful and loving people in my life. I thought of the last seven years I’ve called Southern Appalachia home and the deep roots I’ve been able to put down in these ancient and glorious mountains. I also thought about that first Thanksgiving living and working in Waynesville, back in 2012. I had recently relocated my entire life to Haywood County and really didn’t have any foundation of friends or family anywhere near me. That first Turkey Day, I was alone. It was a sixpack of cheap beer in the fridge and a Subway sandwich at my writing desk, my eyes out the front window of my apartment on the quiet, empty and cold streets of my new home. And I remember thinking back then, “What am I doing here?” I questioned why I left all things familiar for this fresh start and unwritten chapter in my existence. “Why do I put myself through this?” I said to myself, thinking back on my college years in Connecticut and first journalism gig in Idaho — both unknown landscapes with not an old friend in sight. But, something way down in the depths of my soul told me to hold steady. My instincts pulled me to Western North Carolina, and I wasn’t simply going to give up on the dream of the written word due to a lonely holiday. Heck, I’ve had plenty of those since I left home when I was 18. Push ahead and keep on truckin’ for the sun will rise tomorrow, as it always does. So, I kept putting down the roots of my heart and being over the better part of the last decade in Western North Carolina. And I’m eternally grateful for all of those loved ones I’ve befriended in Southern Appalachia, folks I couldn’t ever imagine not having in my daily life. People who I turn to in uncertain times, where the feeling and sentiment is sincerely reciprocated. And yet, with Christmas around the corner, I’m looking forward to finally returning to the North Country, to spend time with my parents, little sister, niece, and childhood friends — faces and places that shaped who I have become, who I continue to be in friendship and solidarity with below the Mason-Dixon Line. Life is beautiful, grasp for it, y’all.





WEEKEND ENTERTAINMENT Entertainment Schedule Dec 6 | PAWS Fundraiser Western Carolina Writers | 7-10 PM Appetizer Buffet Dec 7 | The Maggie Valley Band 7-10 PM | The Daily Grinder Food Truck Dec 13 | Karaoke | 7-10 PM Fat Belly's Food Truck Dec 14 | Holiday Special w/ Tricia Ann Pearl | 7-10 PM Appalachian Smoke Food Truck Dec 20 | Western Carolina Writers 7-10 PM | Appalachian Smoke Food Truck Dec 21 | Ryan Perry Band | 7-10 PM | $5 The Daily Grinder Food Truck Dec 27 | Karaoke | 7-10 PM Fuego Food Truck Dec 28 | Bluegrass Jam | 6-9 PM Appalachian Smoke Food Truck

December 4-10, 2019

arts & entertainment

On the beat

Franklin welcomes LeAnn Rimes Country music legend LeAnn Rimes will hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin. Rimes is an internationally multi-platinum selling acclaimed singer and ASCAP award-winning songwriter. At 14, Rimes won “Best New Artist” making her the youngest recipient of a Grammy Award. Globally, she has sold more than 44 million albums, won two Grammy Awards, 12 Billboard Music Awards, two World Music Awards, three Academy of Country Music Awards, one Country Music Association Award and one Dove Award. Recently, she inked a worldwide deal with RCA UK who recently released her 16th studio album, “Remnants.” The album dropped in 2017 in the U.S. and debuted at # 4 on Billboard’s Independent Album Chart and peaked at #3 on iTunes overall charts in its first week. Tickets start at $35 with VIP seating

Peterson presents holiday show

Smoky Mountain News

Dove Award-nominated recording artist, songwriter, filmmaker and awardwinning author Andrew Peterson will hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the


LeAnn Rimes.

available. For more information and/or to purchase tickets, call 828.524.1598 or visit

Performing Arts in Franklin. Peterson will present his “Behold The Lamb Of God” tour. Logging multiple sold-out events each year since its inception in 2000, the Christmas tour has become a yearly tradition for Peterson and his band, as well as families and churches across the nation who look forward to attending each holiday season, recounting the Christmas story through song. Peterson launched his “Behold The Lamb Of God” tour nearly two decades ago to present a musical rendition of the Christmas story and to reinforce the true meaning of the season. In 2004, the success of the tour led Peterson to record the award-winning album, “Behold The Lamb Of God: The True Tall Tale Of The Coming Of Christ.” Tickets start at $25. For more information and/or to purchase tickets, call 828.524.1598 or visit

WCU traditional music series The First Thursday Old-Time and Bluegrass Series will continue with Granny’s Mason Jar at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. The performance by the two guitarists who make up Granny’s Mason Jar — Jared “Blue” Smith and Aaron Plantenberg — and the open jam session that follows will be held at the headquarters for Homebase College Ministry, located on the east side of the WCU campus at 82 Central Drive. Smith and Plantenberg are helping to maintain the tradition of flatpicking, Merle Travis-style picking and other traditional acoustic guitar styles. Following in the footsteps of bluegrass and folk music masters Doc Watson, Norman Blake, Clarence White and Tony Rice, they will demonstrate their expertise while performing duets and solo tunes. Sponsored by WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center, the First Thursday concerts and jam sessions will continue through the spring, with programs from 7 to 9 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month. The events are free and open to the public. Pickers and singers of all ages and experience levels are invited to take part in the jam sessions, which also are open to those who just want to listen. For more information, call the Mountain Heritage Center at 828.227.7129 or visit

Ready for the ‘Bluegrass Boogie’? The second annual “Bluegrass Boogie” will be held at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, in The Gem downstairs taproom at Boojum Brewing in Waynesville. Hosted by The Smoky Mountain News, live music will be provided by J Rex & His High Mountain Pals, a rollicking bluegrass/string act, which features members of Ol’ Dirty Bathtub alongside special guests throughout the evening.

Steeped in that “high, lonesome sound” of Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys, J Rex & His High Mountain Pals also have thick threads of John Hartford, Jimmy Martin and Old & In The Way running through its sound. This will be an unofficial kickoff event for the Balsam Range Art of Music Festival. The event is free and open to the public. Come one, come all, and let’s boogie down.

Mountain Voices Christmas Concert The Mountain Voices Christmas Concert will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, at First United Methodist Church in Franklin. Join this community chorus for an evening of Christmas music, both secular and sacred. The performance will include songs by the full chorus (with additional instrumentalists) as well as special selections featuring Pinnacle Brass. Mountain Voices is a community chorus under the direction of Beverly Barnett and accompanied by Mary Pittman with 70 members from around Western North Carolina and North Georgia. For more information, contact Director Beverly Barnett at 828.524.3644.

PAWS fundraiser at Elevated Mountain There will be a benefit for PAWS Bryson City from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, at Elevated Mountain Distilling Company in Maggie Valley. Live music by Western Carolina Writers from 7 to 10 p.m. Meet and greets with Moonshiners and Marge & In Charge. A decoration still made by James Hatfield will be also auctioned off. Admission is $5. Appetizers will be offered, with $1 of each can of Pabst Blue Ribbon sold will go to PAWS. If you would like to make a donation through their website, go to and click on the “Donate” tab.

Bring in this coupon and receive an


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Nov 27 through Dec 31

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Shop Small Give hometown stores first chance for gifts Theater, music make memorable moments

Crafty experiences Gifts for four-legged family members


Give hometown stores first chance for gifts W By Jeff Minick hen I was a boy in Boonville, North Carolina, population 600, my mom used to take us shopping once or twice a year in nearby WinstonSalem. Once I asked her why we didn’t shop there more frequently. The stores offered far more variety, and the drive was less than 45 minutes. “We only shop there when we can’t find what we want in our town,” Mom said. “These are our friends and neighbors. They’re your dad’s patients. They need us, and we need them. So we always shop here first.” So a housewife and mother of six gave me one of the most important economic lessons of my life. Here are 10 reasons for shopping locally, not only during this holiday season but also throughout the year.

1. More of the money you spend stays in your community. For every $100

you spend in your community, $68 stays there. The merchants pay out the rest for goods and services. This is twice the amount for chain stores. There is, of course, even a greater disparity compared to online ordering from outfits like Amazon. 2. The velocity of money — how quickly and how often money changes hands — is much faster on a local level. According to, “All else equal, the faster money travels (the higher the velocity

Holiday GUIDE

of money) and the more transactions in which it is used, the healthier the economy, the richer the citizens, and the more vibrant the financial system.” An example: Rick owns an auto

repair shop. He heads to lunch at the local café. The waitress Rick and others tip goes to the manicurist in the late afternoon. The manicurist stops at the market to buy steak and salad fixings for the weekend. The grocer uses that money and more to buy a new tire on his van from Rick. This fast exchange of money is a sign and a cause of a vibrant economy. 3. Buying local creates jobs. As it grows, that kitchen supply shop on Main Street will need to hire some

December 4-10, 2019

Local Art & Jewelry

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4. Shopping in your hometown encourages entrepreneurship. When a young person fresh out of college sees a bustling community with lots of small shops, she will be encouraged to open that bakery she’s always dreamed of. Far more jobs are created by local businesses than by Amazon.

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Largest Gift Shop in the Valley Eclectic Finds & Unique Gifts Home Accents • Jewelry Clothing • Garden Shop Christmas Shop

help. The café and wine shop next door will soon be hiring more wait staff. The taxes of these workers and others will help pay for the wages of another fireman for the town.

DECEMBER 5, 6 & 7

We love our Locals Sale! Great deals on

Art & Jewelry for every budget! GET YOUR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING DONE EARLY!

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5. Buying local allows you to build a rapport with small-business owners. The owner of the coffee shop asks about your son serving in the Marines; the waitress at the café remembers where you like to sit and what you like to drink. In short, you are part of a human community.

7. Local business folks are more civic-minded than the owners of large chain stores or the online companies. They are connected to the community, and are much more likely to donate to charities, coach Little League teams, and work to improve their neighborhoods. Non-profits also receive more support from local businesses.

9. Local businesses pay taxes on property and income. A flourishing


8. Local businesses invest their money locally. In other words, they buy or rent property, they shop locally, they use local services from barbershops to boutiques. That money they spend stays in the community rather than going to some outfit a thousand miles away.

10. Finally, these folks are your neighbors. Like you, perhaps, they are struggling to make a living, get the kids through school, and keep the house standing and the 10-year-old car alive and running. Buy from them, and you’re creating a stronger community, not just for the merchants but for yourself. Of course, shopping locally doesn’t always work, as my mother realized. If you want certain books and your town has no bookstore, then you head to Amazon or the nearest Barnes & Noble. (If possible, choose the latter, where at least the staff is local.) If you need some rare wine and your local market doesn’t carry that brand, then the same advice applies. But this option should be a last resort. Remember: if you want to keep Main Street alive with shops and people, if you like having a busy commercial district near your home, the best way to keep those things is to spend your money there instead of with some retail giant or online behemoth. Give it a shot. Shop where you live. (Jeff Minick is a writer and teacher who for more than a decade owned a bookstore and a bed and breakfast in downtown Waynesville.)



6. Shopping local increases realestate values. Small towns with shuttered stores and deserted streets are unlikely to attract homebuyers. Towns and communities with active small shops, businesses and restaurants do attract those homebuyers.

commercial district means each of these businesses is helping pay for local schools and other vital projects.



December 4-10, 2019


24 E. Main St., Franklin • 828.369.7300 • Call for Holiday Hours



December 4-10, 2019 HOLIDAY GUIDE




usic inspires devoted fans across the globe. Whether a music lover can’t wait to rock out to a favorite band, settle in for a classical concert or visit a favorite opera house, he or she no doubt enjoys some form of music every day. Come the holiday season, shoppers with music lovers on their list can stoke their loved ones’ passions for music by giving them a music experience they’ll remember for a lifetime.

2  consignment shop

Holiday GUIDE

music lovers can resist belting out their favorite performers’ songs at a karaoke joint. Research local karaoke bars and invite some of your loved one’s friends for a memorable night out on the town. Old school gear Many music devotees insist that the best way to experience recorded music is on vinyl. While music fans over 40 might know how to spin the black circle, younger fans might have no such familiarity. A turntable and some vinyl records can open young music lovers’ eyes to a piece of musical history, which might just be music to their ears.


Lessons Lessons make a great gift for music fans who love singing along or playing air guitar with their favorite acts. Local musicians and/or school music teachers often supplement their incomes by offering lessons on various instruments, from piano to guitar to drums to violin. Aspiring singers

A night out A live music experience is not limited to arenas, amphitheaters or other large scale venues. Many local restaurants host live music nights featuring local musicians, while others may host open mic nights that can help aspiring musicians get their music out there while overcoming any nerves they may have about performing in front of a crowd. Of course, few


Various ways to let music lovers experience music

Concert tickets Perhaps nothing appeals to music lovers more than seeing a favorite performer in person. Ask your loved one’s parents, siblings or significant others which artist or artists they listen to the most and then look to see if they’re on tour. Summer tends to be a popular season for outdoor concerts, while winter beckons many performers indoors for concerts in more intimate settings. If a loved one likes a particular style of music instead of a given performer, then tickets to a festival where many acts perform on various stages can make for the perfect gift.

can benefit from working with a local voice coach.

Name brand clothing and shoes for the entire family. Jewelry, Purses, Home Decor, Appliances, Electronics, Housewares, Cherokee Souvenirs, Vinyls, DVD's, VHS, CD's, Cassettes. Books, Tools, Sports Equipment, Antiques, $1-$5 Clearance Room, Seasonal Decor and MORE! OF TREASURES

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December 4-10, 2019

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Bring your quality merchandise to consign with us! Consignment drop off days Tues-Wed-Thurs. Pick-Up, Delivery & Layaway Available 828.586.5634 • Family Operated 7 days a week 10am-5pm 5200 Hwy. 74 W. Suite 2, Whittier NC (Red Barn across from Uncle Bill’s Flea Market) Like us on


Things to do this holiday season

December 4-10, 2019



Special occasions and everyday fashions




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he towns in Western North Carolina always hold holiday celebrations that encourage locals and visitors to come downtown and shop in the local galleries, retail stores and other establishments. These events present families with the perfect opportunity to slow down, walk around and enjoy the holiday season while finding the perfect gift in one of the locally owned businesses in your town. • Dillsboro Lights & Luminaries. For the 36th year this event returns to the streets of downtown from 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 6-7 and 13-14. Experience the magic as the entire town is transformed into a winter wonderland of lights, candles, laughter and song. Over 2,500 luminaries light the way to shops and studios. Horse and buggy rides available each night. Shopkeepers provide live music and serve holiday treats with hot cider and cocoa. Carolers sing and children visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Live Nativity at Jarrett Memorial Baptist Church. Free shuttle service from Monteith Park. For more information, visit • Annual Christmas Tree Lighting in Downtown Waynesville will take place at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, in front of the Oak Park Inn on Main Street. Coincides with Art After Dark, held the first Friday of every month as studios and galleries stay open late and host visiting artists demonstrating their work. • “A Night before Christmas" is on Dec. 14 from 6-9 p.m. in downtown

Waynesville. Shops, galleries and restaurants open. Live music, caroling, Bethlehem market lace, live Nativity, old-fashioned wagon rides, Santa and Mrs. Claus, storytelling, luminaries and more. • Bryson City celebrates all day on Saturday, Dec. 7, starting with “Breakfast with Santa” from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Rescue Squad Building. Pancake breakfast ($5). Bring your

Holiday GUIDE

own camera. 828.488.3681. “Christmas Bazaar & Cookie Walk will start at 9 a.m. at 76 Main Street. Homemade cookies and treats, pecans, handcrafted art and other items for Christmas gifts. 828.488.8970. 45th annual Christmas Parade will be held at 2 p.m. in downtown. • The old-fashioned “Cowee Christmas” will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the school in Franklin. Alongside the Macon County Holiday ARTSaturday, there will be an arts and crafts show, live holiday music, face painting, children’s activities, holiday food, “Grandpa’s Woodshop” and much more. The studios at Cowee School, Arts and Heritage Center will be open with special activities throughout the day. Admission and parking are both free.

Let us craft a sweet memory for your holiday season! Offering hand crafted chocolates, peanut and cashew brittle, & fudge. Custom and premade gift boxes. We will be open till 7 on Fridays and Saturdays leading up to Christmas and will close at 5 on Christmas Eve Regular Business Hours Mon.-Sat. 10-6

546 West Main St., Sylva, NC

(828) 631-3379 · 30

Visit Lake Junaluska for a music-filled weekend of festive activities! Enjoy holiday concerts, a craft show and decorations along the lake. Friday, Dec.13

Saturday, Dec. 14

Saturday, Dec. 14

Saturday, Dec. 14

Handel’s Messiah 7:30 p.m.

Appalachian Christmas Craft Show (FREE) 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Summer Brooke & Mountain Faith Band 2 p.m.

Lake Junaluska Singers Christmas Concert 7:30 p.m.

Craft Show

GET TICKETS! Tickets to each concert are $18 general admission and $23 reserved seating.

December 4-10, 2019

Handel’s Messiah


Lake Junaluska Singers


DECEMBER 12-15, 2019


Summer Brooke & Mountain Faith Band 31


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December 4-10, 2019

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On the beat

The Western Carolina Civic Orchestra will present the annual “Community Christmas Concert” Tuesday, Dec. 10, at the Jackson County Public Library in Sylva. The musical celebration will begin at 6:15 p.m. with caroling on the courthouse steps. Phil and Gayle Woody will lead all comers in singing traditional carols. They will be joined by students from the JAM Junior Appalachian Musicians program, directed by Wanda Messer. Members of the Civic Orchestra, conducted by Dr. Damon Sink, will begin the concert at 7 p.m. with a baroque Christmas Symphony from the 1700s by Gaetano Maria Schiassi. Lori Richards and her flute students will perform a selection of carols. Young players will join the orchestra for Carol of the Bells and more seasonal favorites. These students of violin, viola and cello represent the teaching studios of

Cathy Arps (Sylva), Kathy Hill (Franklin) and Sarah Smith (Waynesville.) The Jackson County Arts Council and the Jackson County Historical and Genealogical Societies will be hosting an open house and serving refreshments. Drop in to learn more about Jackson County arts programs, history and genealogy. The Western Carolina Civic Orchestra is supported by the Jackson County Arts Council and the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. The concert is free and the public is welcomed. This event is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Jackson County Public Library. For more information, call the Jackson County Public Library in Sylva at 828.586.2016.

• Blue Ridge Beer Hub (Waynesville) will host an acoustic jam with Main St. NoTones from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 5 and 12. Free and open to the public.

• Frog Level Brewing (Waynesville) will host Ed Kelley w/Steve Goldman & Melissa Dec. 6, Billingsley Dec. 7, Penny Pinchers Dec. 13 and Mindframe Dec. 14. All shows begin at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Free and open to the public. • Innovation Brewing (Sylva) will have an Open Mic night Dec. 4 and 11, and a jazz night with the Kittle/Collings Duo Dec. 5 and 12. All events are free and begin at 8 p.m. unless otherwise noted.


• First Presbyterian Church (Franklin) will host a benefit concert for CareNet 3 p.m. Dec. 8. Admission to the concert is free, with a love offering being taken for CareNet. FPCFranklin will match the first $1,000 of donations. 828.524.3119.

• Isis Music Hall (West Asheville) will host Peppino D’Agostino (jazz/world) 7 p.m. Dec. 4, Runaway Home (singer-songwriter) 7 p.m. Dec. 5, Mary Gauthier w/Jaimee Harris (Americana/folk) 8:30 p.m. Dec. 5, Tim Grimm w/Jackson Grimm (Americana/folk) 7 p.m. Dec. 6, Jump w/Little Children & Hula Hi-Fi (pop/rock) Dec. 6, Magpie (Americana/folk) 7 p.m. Dec. 7, Frank Solivan & Don Stiernberg Mandolin Duo (instrumental/jazz) 8:30 p.m. Dec. 7, Ryan Kijanka (jazz) 6 p.m. Dec. 8, Queen Bee & The Honeylovers (jazz/swing) 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8, Seth Mulder & Midnight Run (bluegrass) 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10 and Hannah Kaminer (country/folk) 7 p.m. Dec. 11.

• First United Methodist Church (Franklin) will host the Brasstown Ringers holiday con-

• Lazy Hiker Brewing (Franklin) will host an open mic night at 6:30 p.m. every Thursday.

• Cowee School (Franklin) will present The Balsam Bee (live dulcimer music) from 4 to 6 p.m. Dec. 5. Fundraiser for the Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center.

All shows begin at 8 p.m. unless otherwise noted. • Legends Sports Grill (Maggie Valley) will host music semi-regularly on weekends. 828.926.9464 or • Mad Anthony’s Taproom & Restaurant (Waynesville) will host Langston Kelly (oneman band) 7 p.m. Dec. 6. All shows are free and open to the public. 828.246.9249.

• Salty Dog’s (Maggie Valley) will have Karaoke with Jason Wyatt at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays, Mile High (classic rock) 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays, and a Trivia w/Kelsey Jo 8 p.m. Thursdays. • Satulah Mountain Brewing (Highlands) will host “Hoppy Hour” and an open mic at 6 p.m. on Thursdays and live music on Friday evenings. 828.482.9794 or

• Mountain Layers Brewing (Bryson City) will host the “Stone Soup” open mic night every Tuesday, Aly Jordan (singer-songwriter) Dec. 6, Heidi Holton (blues/folk) Dec. 7, Scott James Stambaugh (singer-songwriter) Dec. 13 and Bird in Hand (Americana/folk) Dec. 14. All shows are free and begin at 7 p.m.

• The Strand at 38 Main (Waynesville) will host an “Open Mic” night from 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturdays. 828.283.0079 or

• Nantahala Brewing (Sylva) will host The Valley Below Dec. 13 and Arnold Hill Dec. 14. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Free and open to the public.

• The Ugly Dog Pub (Highlands) will host Bluegrass w/Nitrograss Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

• The Ugly Dog Pub (Cashiers) will host Bluegrass Thursdays w/Benny Queen at 6:30 p.m. and Zuzu Welsh 8 p.m. Dec. 6.

Smoky Mountain News

• Boojum Brewing Company (Waynesville) will host a bluegrass open mic every Wednesday, an all-genres open mic every Thursday, “Bluegrass Boogie” with J Rex & His High Mountain Pals 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4, Arnold Hill Dec. 6, Andrew Thelston Band Dec. 7 and ‘Round the Fire (jam/folk) Dec. 13. All shows begin at 9 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

cert 7 p.m. Dec. 6. Group plays five and a half octaves of Schulmerich handbells and 6 octaves of handchimes.

Acclaimed singer-songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman will perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, at the Smoky Mountain

December 4-10, 2019

• Andrews Brewing Company (Andrews) will host the “Lounge Series” at its Calaboose location with Gabe Myers Dec. 6, Ditch Symphony Dec. 7, Zoo Trippin’ Dec. 14 and George Ausman 4 p.m. Dec. 15. All shows are free and begin at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Christian music legend in Franklin

Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin. In a career that has spanned over 30 years, Steven Curtis Chapman is the most awarded artist in Christian music history with 58 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, five Grammys, an American Music Award, 48 number one singles, selling more than 11 million albums and with 10 RIAA-certified gold or platinum albums to his credit. Chapman has been on Good Morning America, CBS Sunday Morning, CNN, MSNBC, 60 Minutes, E! Entertainment, The Today Show, Fox & Friends, CBS This Morning, and The Tonight Show, Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, along with appearing in the pages of People, Billboard, Parents Magazine, and more. A vocal supporter of adoption, Chapman, along with his wife Mary Beth, founded Show Hope in 2003, a nonprofit organization that helps restore the hope of a family to orphans. Tickets start at $25 with priority seating available. For more information and/or to purchase tickets, call 828.524.1598 or visit

arts & entertainment

Sylva Christmas concert

Steven Curtis Chapman.

• Pub 319 (Waynesville) will host an open mic night from 8 to 11 p.m. every Wednesday. Free and open to the public.

• The Water’n Hole Bar & Grill (Waynesville) will host an “Open Mic Night” on Mondays, karaoke on Thursdays and semi-regular music on Fridays and Saturdays. All events at 9:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted. 828.456.4750.

• Rathskeller Coffee Haus & Pub (Franklin) will host Gary Carter Dec. 6, Limited Distance Dec. 7 and Ronnie Evans Dec. 1314. Shows begin at 8 p.m. Free and open to the public.

• Whiteside Brewing (Cashiers) will host semi-regular live music. Shows are at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Free and open to the public. 828.743.6000 or 33

On the street arts & entertainment

at the door. In addition to tasty treats and fellowship, pecans and Christmas décor will be available for purchase. All proceeds go directly to fund SGC beautification projects. Email for more information.

Cookie sale to benefit homeless The Episcopal Church Women of Grace Church in the Mountains will be selling a variety of homemade Christmas goodies from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at the church in Waynesville. There is a way to lighten your gift-giving load: the gift of a tin of homemade cookies, candy or something salty and savory. This season you can relax while giving something made with love while supporting those less fortunate. All proceeds will benefit Haywood Pathways Center, a local homeless shelter. For more information, call the church office at 828.456.6029.

Smoky Mountain News

December 4-10, 2019

Chancel Choir Christmas musical


The chancel choir at First United Methodist Church will present a Christmas musical at 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at the church sanctuary in Sylva. The choir will perform “Joy Has Dawned, a Christmas Celebration” by Lloyd Larson. Tommy Ginn is director of the cancel choir. The Christmas story will be narrated by Bill and Lynne Johnson. Adult and children church members will portray the nativity scene. The Sylva Bells, a community hand bell choir, under the direction of Lori Merservey, will play holiday selections prior to the concert. Following the musical, heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served in the church’s Christian Life Center for all to enjoy. Various instru-

mental groups will present Christmas music at this time. The public is invited to attend this evening of music, joy and fellowship, First United Methodist Church’s gift to the community. First United Church, Sylva is located at 77 Jackson Street in downtown Sylva. For more information, please call the church office at 828.586.2358.

Christmas at Cowee School The old-fashioned “Cowee Christmas” will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the school in Franklin. Alongside the Macon County Holiday ARTSaturday, there will be an arts and crafts

show, live holiday music, face painting, children’s activities, holiday food, “Grandpa’s Woodshop,” and much more. The studios at Cowee School, Arts and Heritage Center will be open with special activities throughout the day. Admission and parking are both free. For more information, visit

• “Pictures with Santa” will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, at the Franklin Chamber of Commerce and Welcome Center. 828.524.3161. • The seventh annual “Christmas Cheer Breakfast” will be held from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the First Presbyterian Church in Waynesville.

Sylva Garden Club fundraiser

• “Christmas in the Mountains” will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center. “Breakfast with Santa” will be from 9 to 11 a.m. with reservations required ($5 per person). 828.479.3364.

The Sylva Garden Club will be hosting a fundraiser “Christmas Tea & Crafts” from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the First Presbyterian Church of Sylva. Suggested donation is $15 per ticket. Tickets are available from SGC members and

• The “Polar Express” will depart on select times through Dec. 31 from the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad depot. For more information on departures or to purchase tickets, visit


‘Lights & Luminaries’ returns to Dillsboro The 36th annual “Lights & Luminaries” will return to the streets of downtown Dillsboro from 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 6-7 and 13-14. Experience the magic as the entire town is transformed into a winter wonderland of lights, candles, laughter and song. Over 2,500 luminaries light your way to shops and studios. Horse and buggy rides available each night. Shopkeepers provide live music and serve holiday treats with hot cider and cocoa. Carolers sing and children visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Live Nativity at Jarrett Memorial Baptist Church. Free shuttle service from Monteith Park. For more information, visit

On the street


arts & entertainment

The Polar Express.


Bryson City celebrates Christmas Methodist Women’s Group. For more information, call 828.488.8970. • The 45th annual Christmas Parade will be held at 2 p.m. in downtown. • “Santa at the Museum” will be from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Swain County Heritage Museum. Bring your camera or cell phone to commemorate this fun event. Cookies and cocoa served in the lobby. • The “Polar Express” will depart throughout the day from the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad depot. For more information on departures or to purchase tickets, visit

On the table Bosu’s tastings, small plates


will be open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will also be a free wine tasting from 1 to 5 p.m. Dog friendly patio and front garden open, weather permitting. For more information and/or to RSVP for ticketed events, call 828.452.0120 or email • A free wine tasting will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Dec. 7 and 14 at The Wine Bar & Cellar in Sylva. 828.631.3075. • Free cooking demonstrations will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturdays at Country Traditions in Dillsboro. Eat samples and taste house wines for $3 a glass. All recipes posted online.



Smoky Mountain News

Bosu’s Wine Shop in Waynesville will host an array of wine tastings and small plates throughout the week. • Mondays: Free tastings and discounts on select styles of wine that changes weekly. • Thursdays: Five for $5 wine tasting, with small plates available for purchase from Chef Bryan’s gourmet cuisine in The Secret Wine Bar. • Wednesday-Saturday: The Secret Wine Bar will be open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. • Fridays: The Secret Wine Bar will be open for drinks and small plates from 5 to 9 p.m. • Saturdays: Champagne cocktails from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Secret Wine Bar


December 4-10, 2019

There will be a wide range of holiday events celebrating Christmas on Saturday, Dec. 7, in Bryson City. • “Breakfast with Santa” will be held from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Rescue Squad Building. Pancake breakfast ($5). Bring your own camera. 828.488.3681. • “Christmas Bazaar & Cookie Walk will start at 9 a.m. at 76 Main Street. Homemade cookies and treats, pecans, handcrafted art and other items for Christmas gifts. Old fashioned cookie walk. Stop by and meet Gin-Gin the Gingerbread Man and pick up that special something for you or someone on your Christmas list. Presented by the United


800.222.4930 35

arts & entertainment

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December 4-10, 2019

On the wall

Cherokee artist showcase at Rotunda Gallery A showing of new works and a series of prints by Jenean Hornbuckle, a landscape painter, will open with an artist reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Rotunda Gallery in the Sylva library. The reception is sponsored by the Jackson County Arts Council and Sequoyah Fund. Hornbuckle paints mostly on canvas creating large landscapes of natural scenes. Born on the Qualla Boundary, Hornbuckle is a graduate of Swain County High School and Western Carolina University. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in painting. She is a founding member of the Seven Clans Art Guild. “I am an artist because there is memory in my blood that reminds me constantly of who I am,” Hornbuckle said, whose mother is Cherokee Nation and father is Eastern Band of Cherokee. Hornbuckle’s limited prints are of local landscapes and would make great Christmas gifts. Not only could you gift your loved ones with a beautiful print but include a trip to the spot in the paintings: Deep Creek, Santeetlah Creek, or Oconaluftee River to name a few. If you can’t make the opening, the show will be up through Jan. 7. A part of the historic Jackson County Courthouse, the Rotunda Gallery space is shared between the Jackson County Historical Society, The Jackson County Genealogical Society and the Jackson County Arts Council. The gallery features artists living and working in Western North Carolina, preferably Jackson County. The gallery is open library hours, Monday through Saturday. More information about Hornbuckle can be found at More of her work can be seen throughout Cherokee in Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, Museum of the Cherokee Indian, and

A work by Jenean Hornbuckle. Cherokee Indian Hospital and in Asheville at Memorial Mission Hospital. She also has a large piece on display at the Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.

‘Great Art on Screen’ Smoky Mountain News

The Highlands Performing Arts Center and the Bascom Visual Arts Center will present the next installment of “Great Art on Screen: The Prado Museum, A Collection of Wonders” at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, at the HPAC. Celebrating the 200th anniversary of the storied Prado Museum, one of the most-visited museums in the world. Hosted by Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons, this cinematic journey offers viewers a spell-binding experience, telling the story of Spain and beyond, through the works of Vélazquez, Rubens, Titian, Mantegna, Bosch, Goya, El Greco, and more. Join the HPAC, Bascom and your friends for the optional dinner afterwards at Meritage. Call to make your reservations:

For more information about the event or the Rotunda Gallery space, contact the Jackson County Arts Council at or 828.507.9820.

828.526.1019 and be sure to mention “Great Art on Screen. Tickets are available at or at the door.

‘Pop-Up Art Gallery’ The “Pop-Up Art Gallery” will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, at the Viva Arts Studio in Sylva. The gallery is a blending of tradition and modernity in cultural groups. The exhibition will feature artists of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds who offer perspectives on the blending of tradition, culture and modernity from a variety of contexts and experiences. This project is supported by The N.C. Arts Council and Jackson County Arts Council.

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On the wall ‘It’s a Small, Small Work’ exhibit The Haywood County Arts Council annual show, “It’s a Small, Small Work,” will be held through Jan. 4 in HCAC Gallery & Gifts in Waynesville. The 2019 exhibit will feature 60 artists and almost 240 individual works of art for sale. The show provides a unique opportunity for budding artists to exhibit their work, as well as the opportunity for more seasoned artists to test their boundaries. All pieces submitted are exactly 12” or smaller in every dimension, including base, matting, and frame. All artwork is for sale, priced at $300 or less, and must have been created in the last two years. Commission will be the gallery’s usual 60 percent (artist) to 40 percent (HCAC) split. The Haywood County Arts Council’s small work show was launched in 2008 to demonstrate that original artwork is afford-

• “Paint & Sip Winter Scene” class will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16, at Mountain Layers Brewing in Bryson City. For $30 you get all the supplies and instruction you need to create your own winter scene painting to bring home. Sign up in advance by texting WNC Paint Events at 828.400.9560.


• “Wine Glass Painting Party” will be held at 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12, at the Andrews Brewing Company in Andrews.

• The “Christmas in the Mountains” indoor arts and crafts show will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Stecoah Valley Center. • Stonehouse Pottery (Waynesville) will be doing an Open Studio Tour and Sale the first Sunday of each month to help support our local nonprofits. Each month highlights a different artist and that artists chooses his

nothing held back 13,000 sq ft store loaded with antiques Selling to the bare walls

Over 50,000 items to liquidate able and fun. Most businesses, homes and apartments can accommodate smaller works of art — and the show promotes buying local and regional work to help support artists in Western North Carolina. For more information, or 828.452.0593.

or her nonprofit. Stonehouse Pottery and the artist then give a portion of the proceeds as a donation to that nonprofit. • The Western Carolina University Fine Art Museum at Bardo Arts Center is pleased to present, “Resounding Change: Sonic Art and the Environment.” This exhibition will be on display through Dec. 6. It features soundbased artwork that encourages visitors to listen more closely to the natural world and to think about how sound is being used in a time of environmental crisis. To learn more, visit • The Weekly Open Studio art classes will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays at the Haywood County Arts Council in Waynesville, Instructor will be Betina Morgan. Open to all artists, at any stage of development, and in the medium of your choice. Cost is $25 per class. There will also be a Youth Art Class from 4:15 to 5:15 p.m. on Wednesdays. Cost is $15 per class. Contact Morgan at 828.550.6190 or email • The Museum of the Cherokee Indian’s exhibit, “People of the Clay: Contemporary Cherokee Potters,” features more than 60 potters from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Cherokee Nation, and more than one hundred works from 1900 to the present. The exhibit will run through April. • A “Beginner Step-By-Step” adult painting class will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays at Frog Level Brewing in Waynesville. There is also a class at 6:30 p.m. on the last Wednesday of the month at Balsam Falls Brewing in Sylva. Cost is $25 with all supplies provided. For more information or to RSVP, contact Robin Arramae at 828.400.9560 or

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Smoky Mountain News

• Susan Balentine’s annual Pottery Sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 6-7 at her studio located at 274 Calhoun Road in Waynesville. Functional and Decorative high fire stoneware pottery with nature inspired designs will be for sale at 20 percent off. There will also be a bargain table.


December 4-10, 2019

• “Glass Ornament Classes” will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 7 and 14 at the Jackson County Green Energy Park in Dillsboro. Time slots will last 30 minutes and participants will make one ornament in that time. Glasswork available for pickup 48 hours after class. Fee is $35 per time slot. Payment due at registration. To register, call 828.631.0271.

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Smoky Mountain News

December 4-10, 2019

arts & entertainment

On the stage


‘Miracle on 34th Street’

A special holiday stage production of the classic “Miracle on 34th Street” will be held at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13-14, 16, 20-21 and at 4 p.m. Dec. 15 and 22 at the Smoky Mountain Community Theatre in Bryson City. By chance, Kris Kringle, an old man in a retirement home, gets a job working as Santa for Macy’s. Kris unleashes waves of good will with Macy’s customers and the commercial world of New York City by referring parents to other stores to find exactly the toy their child has asked for. Seen as deluded and dangerous by Macy’s vocational counselor, who plots to have Kris shanghaied to Bellevue Psychiatric

Hospital, Kris ends up in a court competency hearing. Especially at stake is one little girl’s belief in Santa. In a dramatic decision, the court confirms Kris as the true Santa, allowing Susan and countless other children to experience the joy of childhood fantasy. Box office opens one-hour before show time. Only cash is accepted at the door. There will be a 15-minute intermission with locally made goodies. All concessions are $1. For more information, click on Admission is $14 for adults, $8 for children under 17. For advance tickets, click on

Mountain Winds holiday concert

KIDS at HART auditions There will be auditions for KIDS at HART for a stage production of “Mary Poppins Jr.” held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Haywood Arts Regional Theatre in Waynesville. The show “Mary Poppins Jr.” will be performed on March 7-8 and 14-15 at HART. There are roles for all ages in this story of a nanny who comes into the lives of the Bank’s family in turn of the century London. Those auditioning should come prepared to sing. The production is being directed by Shelia Sumpter. HART is located at 250 Pigeon St. in Waynesville.

The Mountain Winds Community Band will present a concert of your holiday favorites at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11, in the Coulter Recital Hall on the campus of Western Carolina University. Under the direction of Jon Henson and Bob Buckner, The Mountain Winds was founded in 2009. The group is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and looks forward to sharing in some Holiday cheer with all those who attend. Comprised from members of Jackson and surrounding counties and students from WCU and various high schools in the area the group meets once a week to prepare concerts throughout the year. The concert is free and open to the public. • There is free comedy improv class from 7 to 9 p.m. every Thursday at Frog Level Brewing in Waynesville. No experience necessary, just come to watch or join in the fun. Improv teacher Wayne Porter studied at Sak Comedy Lab in Orlando, Florida, and performed improvisation with several groups. Join Improv WNC on Facebook or call 828.316.8761.



Smoky Mountain News


Children’s books and thoughts for the holidays ime to head off to Santa’s workshop and see what Christmas books he and the elves have in mind for the kids. First up is Carol Matney’s St. Nick’s Clique (Page Publishing, Inc. 2019, 25 pages). Matney, a North Carolinian I’ve known for nearly 30 years, whisks us off to the North Pole for a look at how Santa Claus teaches his reindeer to fly and how he names them for their personalities. Cupid, Writer for example, receives his name because “I am happy when we all get along and are kind to each other, and we help one another.” The largest and strongest reindeer is “lightning fast” and so named Blitzen, from the German word for “fast.” At the end of this charming tale, we meet a little reindeer with a glowing red nose, and Santa wonders “if … somehow, someday, there might be some way to include him in St. Nick’s clique.” Watch for the sequel. In The Muppet Christmas Carol: The Illustrated Holiday Classic (Insight Editions, 2019, 40 pages), Brooke Vitale and Luke Flowers blend Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol with a whole bunch of Muppets. Brooke Vitale’s writing — grownups will get a kick out of reading this one aloud — couple with the bright and humorous illustrations of Flowers to make The Muppet Christmas Carol a fun read for the little ones, especially for fans of the 1992 Muppets Christmas Carol movie. Tony DiTerlizzi, who along with Holly Black gave young people The Spiderwick Chronicles, presents even younger readers with The Broken Ornament (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018, 48 pages). Here Jack disobeys his parents and breaks a treasured ornament that belonged to his mother’s grandmother. With his mother in tears in her bedroom, Jack encounters Tinsel, a Christmas fairy, who asks him what he wishes for. “I want the best Christmas

Jeff Minick


ever!” Jack declares, and Tinsel loads him down with decorations, music, and presents. At the end of this celebration, Jack realizes he

has to make it the best Christmas for his mother too, and comes up with sweet way to do so. Now back to television land. In The Sesame Street Christmas Treasury (RP/Kids, 2018, 301 pages), we find a goofy but entertaining mix of characters from Sesame Street blended with Christmas poems, stories, and even recipes. If your little ones are fans of Oscar, Big Bird, and the Count, this one may be just right for a read-aloud. Perhaps the most unusual of these books

New children’s book about global warming Susanna Shetley, author of the recently published picture book, The Jolt Felt Around the World, will be hosting an event from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville. A Smoky Mountain News writer and marketing specialist, Shetley was inspired to create the book by a conversation with her two sons one morning as they drove through car line. The three had listened to an NPR piece on the Paris Climate

is Marlon Bundo’s Best Christmas Ever (Regnery Kids, 2019, 39 pages). Here we meet Marlon Bundo Pence, the BOTUS (Bunny of the United States), a creation of writer Charlotte Pence, daughter of Vice President Pence, and illustrator Karen Pence, his wife. First introduced in Marlon Bundo’s A Day In The Life Of The Vice President, in this book Marlon hops about the vice presidential home showing us the preparations for Christmas as he collects bits and pieces of various stuff to make an ornament for the tree. Incidentally, Marlon is a real bunny belonging to the Pence family. ••• And now a return to a classic already mentioned: Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Even if we’ve never read the book, we know the plot and characters of A Christmas Carol because we’ve seen some of the movies, more than two dozen of them. Embedded in our culture is Scrooge, the penny-pinching businessman whose “Bah, Humbug,” and very name became a part of our language. Jacob

Agreement when her younger son asked, “If we keep putting more and more trash on the earth, will she fall from the sky?” That day, Shetley wrote the first draft of the book. She later partnered with illustrator Krystal Smith. Wisdom House Books in Chapel Hill published the book. The Jolt Felt Around the World is a timely story and not only highlights global warming but also acceptance, forgiveness and compassion. The event is free to the public and includes refreshments and an art activity for kids. Blue Ridge Books is located at 428 Hazelwood Avenue in Waynesville. To learn more, click on The

Marley, Bob Cratchit, and Tiny Tim are household names. We know the story: Scrooge’s solitude, greed, and contempt for Christmas; the visitations of the Three Spirits — ghosts of the Christmases past, present, and future — to show Scrooge how far he has fallen from the right path; his conversion from miser to a man who “will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” In the opening of A Christmas Carol, when the suffering ghost of Jacob Marley, his former business partner, warns Scrooge that unless he changes he too will find in the afterlife: “No rest, no peace. Incessant torture of remorse,” Scrooge replies, “But you were always a good man of business, Jacob.” “Business,” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!” Charity, mercy, forbearance, benevolence: Good ideas all, but sadly lacking in our public forum these last few years. Instead, our mainstream media, online commentators, and many of our politicians from all parts of the political spectrum all too often seem committed to malevolence, spite, slander, and innuendo. During this time of year, Americans celebrate several holidays. Thanksgiving, a day set aside as a time for gratitude, is recently passed. There is Hanukkah, Hebrew for “dedication,” when Jews recollect the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem. There is Christmas, when Christians honor the birth of Christ and many non-believers celebrate “good will toward men.” Finally, there is New Year’s Eve and Day, when all of us welcome the change in the calendar and hope for the future. Perhaps this year, we will learn from Dickens and make our holiday season and that New Year a festival of charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence. (Jeff Minick is a teacher and writer.

book is also available at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva, from the author’s website, and through online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Walmart.

• Monthly Poetry Reading at Panacea Coffeehouse in Waynesville. Last Saturdays every month at 2 p.m. Bring your poetry, essays and writings to share. Be sure to order drinks and snacks and tip the staff of Panacea. For more information, contact Morella Poe at




Smoky Mountain News

Visitors explore the newly open 'Missing Link; section of the Foothills Parkway in November 2018. In the first two months it was open, this section of the park attracted nearly 200,000 people. Joye Ardyn/NPS photo

Free at a cost Entrance fee prohibition creates challenges for the Smokies BY HOLLY KAYS STAFF WRITER rowing up in West Asheville, Daniel Pierce was a frequent visitor to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park was — and still is — free to enter, and to Pierce that was normal. “I’ll never forget the first time I went in a national park that charged an entrance fee,” said Pierce, who now holds a doctorate and is a history professor at the University of North Carolina Asheville who specializes in Smokies history. “I was just horrified by the thought


that you would have to pay to go into a national park.” He’d been to a few of the western parks before and uncomplainingly paid fees there. But the fee that faced him as a doctoral student swinging by Shenandoah National Park on his way to Washington, D.C., somehow seemed different. “This is not Yellowstone, this is not Yosemite,” said Pierce. “There’s just something about it that’s very different there. One, you’re generally a good distance away from any sort of an urban area whereas in the East

“Every park has its culture, and that’s just a part of the Smokies’ culture, that it’s free. Although, people don’t think about what that costs the Smokies in the long run.” — DanieL Pierce

you’re relatively close to population. I don’t know — it was just a different feeling.” Many people from Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee who grew up with the Smokies as their model of a “normal” national park would likely agree with Pierce. However, the truth is that the Smokies’ situation is anything but normal. That’s not to say that it’s the only national park without a fee. In fact, only about a quarter of the country’s 419 National Park Service units charge an entrance fee. But of the 419, only 61 are officially designated as national parks. The remainder fall under a different designation, like national monument, national battlefield or national scenic trail. Among the national parks, entrance fees are quite common — 37 charge some sort of fee to enter, while the remaining 24 do not. That doesn’t mean that visitors should expect to enjoy all 24 “free” parks without paying. Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, for example, does not charge an entrance fee but does require visitors who wish to tour the caverns for which the park is named to pay for the privilege. The same is true for Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota. Most of the free-to-enter national parks fall on the low side of the visitation spectrum, with only five of the 24 drawing more than a million visitors in 2018. The Smokies is one of the five, in 2018 logging 11.4 million visitors to continue its streak as the nation’s most-vis-

ited national park, drawing nearly twice as many visitors as second-place Grand Canyon National Park, which saw 6.4 million visitors that year. “Every park has its culture, and that’s just a part of the Smokies’ culture, that it’s free,” said Pierce. “Although, people don’t think about what that costs the Smokies in the long run.”

LEGALLY ENSHRINED The Smokies’ culture of free entrance goes back to its establishment in 1934. Unlike large western national parks like Yosemite and Yellowstone, which were created from land already owned by the federal government — though of course all land in what is now the United States was once inhabited by Native Americans who were forcibly removed — the land that now contains the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was privately owned, settled with homes, farms, stores and churches. The Smokies’ transition from private settlement to public ownership was a painful and contentious one, and even now, nearly 100 years later, the wounds have not completely healed. Especially to people with deep roots in the region, the idea of paying a fee to visit land that they in some ways still consider to be theirs is nothing short of heinous.


iting their condemned homes and family land.” “We want everyone to be able to come to the park without any charge, from the rich to the poor, the poor to the rich,” added Sen. Steve Southerland, R-Morristown. “We want everyone to be able to use the park and we don’t want to impose that fee on them.” Southerland, who chairs Tennessee’s Senate Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, said that Tennessee acts that belief out with its state parks. The state’s 56 parks feature 1,300 miles of trails, 372 cabins, 36 campgrounds, 80plus waterfalls — and no entrance fees. Free access is not only good for visitors, said Southerland, but it’s also good for his district’s booming tourism industry. “When those visitors come into Sevier County, they’re spending dollars on tourism, like clothing, like gasoline, like food — everything,” he said. “So the sales tax that we generate out of that is enormous. In fact, Sevier County is the third-largest taxpayer to the state as far as sales tax dollars.” North Carolina turned over its portion of Newfound Gap Road through a process called abandonment, and the formal agreement did not include any language prevent-

ing an entrance fee from being instituted. However, the action did reference a 1936 letter from NPS Director Arno Cammerer, which stated that it was not the Park Service’s intent to charge a fee, said Smokies spokesperson Dana Soehn. “So, although legislative action by North Carolina would not be needed to impose an entrance fee, some concurrence by the state would be desirable,” said Soehn. The park’s main entrances at Oconaluftee and Sugarlands — both located along Newfound Gap Road — are by far the most popular ways to enter the park. But there are many other, lesser-used entrances as well as popular areas like Cades Cove that don’t rely on access to Newfound Gap or Little River roads. However, the park can’t charge access fees there, either, due to a 1992 federal law that prohibits fees from being charged for “entrance on other routes into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or any part thereof unless fees are charged for entrance into that park on main highways and thoroughfares.” That legal framework means that the expansive, diverse park — the largest east of the Mississippi River — is free to enter and easily accessible even to residents of urban

Visitors mill through the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg in March 2018, checking out the bookstore and exhibits or waiting their turn to speak with visitor center staff. Andrea Walton/NPS photo

Great Smoky Mountains

Grand Canyon

Rocky Mountain



Federal $ Fee $ Visitation

$18.5 $1.7 10.1

$20.8 $8.4 4.8

$12.4 $8.8 3.4

$7.4 $5 3.2

$33.8 $8.4 3.5


Federal $ Fee $ Visitation

$18.8 $2.1 10.7

$21.2 $18.4 5.5

$12.5 $7.1 4.2

$7.5 $5.8 3.6

$34.6 $7.5 4.1


Federal $ Fee $ Visitation

$19.1 $2.3 11.3

$21.3 $15.2 6

$12.8 $8.3 4.5

$7.6 $7 4.3

$34.7 $24.4 4.3


Federal $ Fee $ Visitation

$19.1 $2.2 11. 3

$21.3 $11.7 6.3

$12.8 $8.7 4.4

$7.6 $7.6 4.5

$39.7 $17.1 4.1


Federal $ Fee $ Visitation

$19.4 $2.5 11.4

$21.6 $16.2 6.4

$13 $8.4 4.6

$7.7 $7.9 4.3

$39.9 $43.9 4.1

Dollars shown in fiscal years; visitation in calendar years. Figures shown in millions. Source: National Park Service.

The Smokies’ fee-free status is not without cost, however. Of 2018’s 10 most-visited national parks, the Smokies — which held the number one spot by a margin of 5 million — was the only one without an entrance fee. The remaining nine parks charged a per-vehicle fee of $30 or $35, with passes good for seven days. Parks are allowed to keep 80 percent of their fee revenue to pay for maintenance and visitor services, and this can add up to millions of dollars. In 2018, for example, Grand Canyon National Park, which had the second-highest visitation, took in $16.2 million in fees, equivalent to 75 percent of the park’s congressional allocation that fiscal year. It’s hard to estimate how much money the Smokies would receive if it charged the same $35 fee as Grand Canyon. The park’s visitation numbers are padded by traffic from people passing through the park to commute between Gatlinburg and Cherokee or taking the Spur between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, so many of these people would likely purchase a park-specific annual pass ($70 at Grand Canyon) rather than paying for every seven-day use period. It’s also difficult to predict how people, especially locals, might change their behavior and use the park less often if a fee were in place. After all, it’s free to hike in any of the three national forests surrounding the Smokies. It is, however, safe to say that an entrance fee would greatly increase the park’s budget, and that such an increase is greatly needed. Every national park receives an annual base appropriation from Congress. That, along with fee revenue, typically comprises the bulk of the budget, with some other, smaller funding sources rounding it out. Despite logging the highest national park visitation for each of the past five years, the Smokies’ level of congressional funding ranked third among 2018’s five most-visited national parks, with the park receiving $19.4 million in fiscal year 2018. By contrast, Yellowstone received $39.9 million and Grand Canyon got $21.6 million. Fourth and fifth place Rocky Mountain and Zion national parks received $13 million and $7.7 million, respectively. Add in the fees, and the gap gets even wider. The Smokies takes in some fee revenue from visitors who rent campsites or buy backcountry camping permits, but it’s just a fraction of what other comparable parks receive. In 2018 the Smokies earned $2.5 million this way. Of the year’s five mostvisited parks, Zion had the next-lowest fee revenue, with $7.9 million. The funding gap is even more pronounced when taking visitation levels into account. Adding together congressional appropriations and fees for each park and

Smoky Mountain News



December 4-10, 2019

Revenue and visitation at 2018’s five most popular parks

areas like Atlanta, Chattanooga and Memphis. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is undeniably a unique jewel in the crown that is the National Park Service.


However, there is nothing in the park’s enabling legislation that prohibits it from charging an entrance fee, and there was never any written agreement between the government and former park residents guaranteeing free entrance to the park. At least, said Pierce, not explicitly. “The only promise I know of is that they would have access to the cemeteries,” he said. The agreement states that the government will maintain the graveyards where settlers buried their dead, as well as the roads and trails used to get there. The agreement is more about physical access, said Pierce, and doesn’t specifically address the issue of entrance fees. However, were the Park Service to impose an entrance fee it’s likely it would find itself defending against a lawsuit claiming violation of the agreement. There is another, stronger legal barrier to instituting an entrance fee in the Smokies, and that is the 1951 deed transfer the Tennessee legislature enacted to grant the federal government ownership of Little River Road and Newfound Gap Road. “No toll or license fee shall ever be imposed by the United States or any agency thereof for the use by the public of State Highway Nos. 71 and 73, and the rights is (sic) especially reserved unto the State of Tennessee to allow the public to use said highways,” the document reads. The prohibitions in that language have been generally understood to include charging an entrance fee, and removing the prohibition would require action from the Tennessee legislature. According to legislators representing areas bordering the park, such action is unlikely. “I would expect significant resistance from all affected,” said Sen. Art Swann, RMaryville. “This was built as an economic aid to a Depression-ravaged mountain area. Locals still see this as a loss of their homes, forests and farmland. The whole idea was to take their land ‘for the public good.’ Tennesseans see these mountains as their home. You don’t charge them as visitors vis-


of the law. All the other popular parks created in the West were carved out of land the federal government already owned, so the federal government can charge an entrance fee. That’s why it is important to pass my Restore Our Parks legislation — which would cut in half the maintenance backlog at our 419 national parks, including the Smokies, and help ensure future generations have the same opportunity to enjoy the great American outdoors.” The bipartisan Restore Our Parks Act, of which Alexander is a cosponsor, passed the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy on Nov. 19 and now awaits a vote. As written, it would create a National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund that, from 2019 through 2023, would receive half of all energy development revenues paid to the U.S. government, not to exceed $1.3 billion. The money would be used for deferred maintenance needs within the National Park Service. The bill’s 45 cosponsors also include N.C. Sen. Thom Tillis. A House version of the bill — whose 329 cosponsors include Rep. Mark Meadows, RAsheville, and Rep. David Roe, RJonesborough — is working its way through the House of Representatives and was placed on the calendar Oct. 22, though it has yet to come up for a vote. That version would create a fund to include an equivalent amount of money derived in an equivalent manner to that proposed in the Senate version, but it would fund deferred maintenance on land managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Affairs in addition to that of the National Park Service.


COST, CONTINUED FROM 41 then dividing by visitation yields a funding rate of about $2 per Great Smoky Mountains National Park visitor in each of the last five years, 2014 to 2018. The same formula yields a five-year average of $3.57 for Zion, $4.96 for Rocky Mountain and $6.10 for Grand Canyon. The outlier is Yellowstone, which saw an average per-visitor rate of $14.13 from congressional appropriations and fees over the past five years.


Smoky Mountain News

December 4-10, 2019

This disparity creates a challenge for America’s most-visited national park, whose popularity is only growing. Visitation rose each year between 2014 and 2018 for an increase of 13.09 percent. “Most of the infrastructure in the Smokies was developed over 50 years ago,” said Smokies Superintendent Cassius Cash. “We have dedicated staff who work hard to maintain it, but it’s an ongoing challenge with facilities that have exceeded their normal lifecycle and increased visitation. We appreciate all the support in donations and funding through our partners, which allows us to match federal dollars through innovative public-private partnerships in our efforts to care for this special place.” According to the most recent report, based on fiscal year 2018 data, the Smokies has a deferred maintenance backlog of $236.9 million — more than 10 times its total revenue in fees and federal appropriations that same year. It’s not the only park facing massive backlogs, though. As of Sept. 30, 2018, the National Park Service as a whole carried $11.92 billion in deferred maintenance, and even parks that are able to charge entrance fees deal with the problem. Grand Canyon, for example, has $313.9 million in deferred maintenance — at 8.2 times the park’s total fees and appropriations revenue for 2018, it’s proportionally less than the burden the Smokies bears but is still quite large. Yellowstone has a similar story, its $657.7 million backlog coming in at 7.8 times the park’s fee and congressional intake that year. Rocky Mountain and Zion are in a less dire situation with $84.1 million and $67.6 million, respectively, accounting for 3.9 and 4.3 times their fee and federal appropriations revenue in 2018. That reality makes it hard for even a cash-strapped park like the Smokies to push for increased funding, said Great Smoky Mountains Association Executive Director Laurel Rematore. “The Park Service is in a really awkward position here, because Congress gives the Park Service ‘x’ amount of dollars to distribute amongst the parks and all the various programs that the Park Service is responsible for, so if the Great Smoky Mountains National Park went and complained to even their higher-ups or to somebody in the federal government, the solution is to take money away from another park that needs the money as well,” said Rematore. 42 “Everybody’s got crushing amounts of

Park volunteer Grant Palmer impersonates the Smokies’ first superintendent Ross Eakin while leading the 2018 Christmas Memories Walk at the 2018 Festival of Christmas Past with Ranger Jennifer Hale. Warren Bielenberg/NPS photo

The daughter and granddaughter of Cherokee tribal member Segli Nedde, shown in this undated photo, are just some of the people who used to live on the land that is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. NPS archives

Per-visitor funding at 2018’s five most popular parks • $1.92 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In fiscal year 2018, this park received $21.9 million to serve 11.4 million visitors. • $5.94 — Grand Canyon National Park. In fiscal year 2018, this park received $37.9 million to serve 6.4 million visitors. • $4.67 — Rocky Mountain National Park. In fiscal year 2018, this park received $21.4 million to serve 4.6 million visitors. • $3.61 — Zion National Park. In fiscal year 2018, this park received $15.6 million to serve 4.3 million visitors. • $20.36 — Yellowstone National Park. In fiscal year 2018, this park received $83.8 million to serve 4.1 million visitors. Park funding is calculated by adding congressional appropriations and fee revenue. Calculations made using data from the National Park Service. Visitation data refers to calendar year 2018.

deferred maintenance backlogs that number in the millions, and federal appropriations don’t come close to touching that.” Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, has a long history of work with park-related issues, first as the state’s governor from 1979-1987 and then as a U.S. senator from 2002 to present. He’s opposed to instituting a park entrance fee, but he also acknowledges the need for additional funding — in the Smokies and elsewhere. In 2005 Alexander worked with thenSen. Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, to make some progress on this front with a bill amendment that allowed the Smokies to keep 100 percent of the money it collects from fees, rather than having to send 20 percent of it back up the food chain as is the case with fees collected at other parks. But that change resulted in a revenue increase in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the Smokies needed a bump of millions. “The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was given to the country by the states of North Carolina and Tennessee and by a fundraising drive with children giving pennies and John D. Rockefeller giving $5 million,” said Alexander. “That was the deal when the park was created, and it’s a matter

A HELPING HAND An influx of funding like that outlined in the Restore Our Parks Act would be helpful, maybe even game-changing, but that possibility doesn’t negate the need for continued work to see that the Smokies’ needs are met. Nearly every national park has a partner organization or two that works to raise money and support the park’s mission, but the Smokies’ unique funding issues heighten the importance of its relationship with its main partners, GSMA and Friends of the Smokies. As did Friends of the Smokies President Jim Hart, Rematore said her organization does not have a position either way on the park fee issue. Its role, instead, is to work with the park to identify funding priorities and then to generate dollars to support them. However, said Rematore, the combined challenges of high visitation and lack of an entrance fee certainly affect the urgency of the nonprofit’s role. “It puts considerable pressure on GSMA to make sure that we are being as efficient as possible in conducting our own operations so we can reserve as much as possible to give to the National Park Service to help bridge its needs between what it receives through federal appropriations and what its actual needs are,” she said. “We only exist to raise funds for them, and that’s what we’re doing,” said Hart. Together, the organizations certainly

A hiker takes in the view from Mount LeConte. Jess Curtis/NPS photo


Lisa McInnis will be the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s new chief of resource management and science, taking over from Jeff Troutman, who retired from the position in March. McInnis will lead efforts to protect and preserve the park’s remarkable biodiversity, forest health and rich cultural connections. The division’s many responsibilities include: fisheries, wildlife and vegetation management; inventorying and monitoring air, water and biological resources; and coordinating myriad research activities. McInnis’ portfolio also consists of cultural resource management, historic structures, archeological sites, cultural landscapes and museum collections. “Lisa’s knowledge and leadership of programs across the National Park Service have gained her the experience to skillfully oversee these wide-ranging programs and create new initiatives and partnerships that will help the park handle new challenges on the horizon,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. McInnis most recently served as chief of resource management at Natchez Trace Parkway. She has also served as the natural resource specialist and as the fire ecologist, overseeing a vegetation monitoring program at Little River Canyon National Preserve, Mammoth Cave National Park, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Vicksburg National Military

Park, Horseshoe Bend National Military Park and Stones River National Battlefield. In addition, she served as acting superintendent at Andersonville National Cemetery and Pinnacles National Park, and as the acting branch chief for natural resources in the North-Atlantic Appalachian Region. She is currently the chair of the South-Atlantic Gulf Region Natural Resource Advisory Lisa McInnis. Donated photo Committee. “I am excited and honored to work in a park with such unparalleled resources,” said McInnis. “Great Smoky Mountains National Park, along with other National Park Service areas, continues to be challenged by environmental issues such as air quality impacts and the detrimental effects of nonnative animals, plants, and diseases. I am looking forward to working with the great team at the Smokies to develop stewardship actions that help us deal with these issues.” McInnis grew up in Belcher, Louisiana and enjoys hiking, horseback riding, home improvement projects and spending time with her husband and their two dogs. She holds a doctorate in forestry from Stephen F. Austin State University.

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December 4-10, 2019 Smoky Mountain News

Entrance fees have been a topic of discussion at Park Service units across the country recently, with a rate hike going into effect at national parks nationwide on July 1, 2018. Looking at 2018’s top five most-visited parks, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and Zion saw their fees increase from $30 to $35 for a seven-day vehicle pass, while Rocky Mountain’s went from $25 to $30. While many were disgruntled at the increases, they don’t appear to have dampened visitation — none of the four parks reported a decrease in visitation attributable to the fee hike. After all, $35 for a whole family to enjoy seven days of exploration really isn’t much, especially when you consider that an amusement park ticket might set you back $80 or more, and that would just cover one person for one day. But the calculus is different when you’re talking about a national park that many consider to be their local park — a place to enjoy an afternoon picnic, take a detour to soak in the view or escape for a quick overnight backpacking trip. “There is a sense of ownership in Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina because of the way the park was created that would make it difficult to charge an entrance fee, and secondly if they did the level of resentment there I think would be pretty high,” said Pierce. “So it’s hard to weigh all those things. It’s such a complicated discussion.” While mountain residents may view the

Smokies names new resource management chief


help to pad the park’s budget. Friends of the Smokies typically raises between $3.5 and $4 million each year, and GSMA gives $1.3 to $2 million annually. Taking the low end of both of those ranges, those contributions add another 21.9 percent to the Smokies combined fee and congressional appropriations revenue, when looking at numbers for fiscal year 2018. “I think we enjoy great success at what we do, but then you turn around and you look at the unmet need that is still there, and it’s daunting,” said Rematore.

Smokies as their local park, by law the federal government cannot see it that way. The national parks belong to every American, be they from Bryson City or Baton Rouge. If the Smokies were to ever have an entrance fee, it would have to be the same for everybody. That could be a hard pill to swallow, especially for North Carolina locals still embittered by the decades of legal wrangling involved with getting the federal government to pay out the settlement it promised Swain County residents in return for not rebuilding the road it had promised to rebuild after constructing Fontana Dam. Known as “The Road to Nowhere,” only 7 miles of the promised 26-mile road were ever built, and the full $52 million settlement wasn’t paid out until 2018 — 15 years after the settlement agreement was signed and seven decades after the promise was made. “The fact that the settlement had not been paid was just incredibly awkward and I think introduced a lot of acrimony into any discussions that might have occurred about the possibility of implementing an entrance fee,” said Rematore. Pierce is willing to wager that every Smokies superintendent has at some point started poking around the idea of instituting an entrance fee, but none of them have ever pushed it forward for public comment. “It’s something that’s been on their minds for a long time, but I think it’s so tangled and so potentially contentious that they have avoided any sort of public talk about it,” said Pierce. “It would be a particularly brave superintendent that would tackle that issue.” It’s still tangled, and it’s still contentious, but if the park’s funding continues to stay flat as its visitation continues to rise, the day could come when open discussion of an entrance fee begins. “I think it has the potential at least to become something that would rise to the level of a public comment period today because the revenue issues and the maintenance issues are so huge at this point,” said Pierce. “But it would take a massive public relations campaign.” The park’s nonprofit partners would have to come out in support — and potentially risk alienating supporters committed to the park remaining free — and the Tennessee legislature would have to amend its 1951 deed transfer legislation, which itself would require a grassroots show of support from voters in that state to prompt action from legislators. Finally, federal action would be needed to enact the fee. “I don’t see it coming any time soon. I’ll just put it that way,” said Pierce. “It would be a long, long process.”



Book Signing This weekend! Saturday 2-4PM with



December 4-10, 2019

for her new book HUSH

More than 2,000 acres protected in McDowell A 2,200-acre purchase in McDowell County clinches the second phase of a conservation project that is expected to protect a total 6,000 acres once completed by the end of 2021. The Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina and the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation closed on the purchase Oct. 30 after having completed the first phase of the project — 1,500 acres — in January. The land is now part of the Bobs Creek State Natural Area, managed by the Division of Parks and Recreation for low-impact recreation, water quality protection and preservation of rare plants and diverse ecosystems documented by the N.C. Natural Heritage Program. The 2,200-acre tract protects water quality along 5 miles of source streams that drain to North and South Muddy Creeks through an extensive network of riparian buffers. The Muddy Creek watershed is one of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s priorities for stream and water quality improvement. The Division of Parks and Recreation plans to design and construct trails on the property to allow for hiking, wildlife observation and enjoyment of stream cascades. “This property is a critical component of the new natural area in McDowell County, which has been historically underserved with outdoor recreation opportunities,” said Dwayne Patterson, director of the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. “We are thankful for Foothills Conservancy’s invaluable partnership and look forward to new opportunities to improve water quality, education, research and recreation to catalyze further stewardship of our natural resources.” Funding for the second phase of the project included a grant of $1.2 million from N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund, which also assisted with the purchase of Phase 1; $1.75 million in federal Land and Water Conservation Fund monies awarded by the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund; the Conservation Trust for North Carolina; and grants from the Cannon and Stanback Foundations.

Smoky Mountain News

Emergency loans available for Jackson, Macon farmers


A natural disaster declared in South Carolina makes farmers in North Carolina’s Jackson and Macon counties eligible for Farm Service Agency emergency loan assistance. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue declared a natural disaster in South Carolina based on damages and losses due to drought. Adjacent counties in North Carolina were named as contiguous counties where farmers are eligible for loan assistance. Farmers in Jackson and Macon have until June 19, 2020, to file an application for assistance. More information is available at the local FSA office.

the Blue Ridge Parkway,” said Carolyn Ward, CEO of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. “Sadly, because there are so many needs, the care of Parkway trails, campgrounds and overlooks is falling to the bottom of the long list of priorities.” Working with National Park Service staff, the Foundation will develop a comprehensive plan to address critical needs first, and then implement a maintenance and restoration plan to improve the condition of trails, picnic areas, campgrounds, major vistas and overlooks. The plan will include a volunteer component, utilizing youth conservation groups, community members and additional seasonal work crews. The goal is to eventually raise $3 million for work to be completed over the next five to eight years. The Trails The Trails & Views Forever Fund will build and Views Forever Fund will upon the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s build upon the Foundation’s past work, such as this project to repair the past work to protect recreCraggy Gardens Bald Trail in conjunction ational spaces on the with the American Conservation Experience. Parkway, including the clearBRPF photo ing of vegetation at roadside overlooks, the construction of boardwalks and restrooms at Graveyard Fields, and trail repairs at Craggy The money will go to the Blue Ridge Gardens, Price Lake and Peaks of Otter. Parkway Foundation’s new Trails and Views Donors who give $1,000 or more will Forever Fund, which will repair trails, picnic receive a limited edition patch and their areas, campgrounds, overlooks and other names will be listed on acknowledgement amenities on the Parkway. signs at locations on the Parkway. Donate at “The National Park Service is facing an astonishing price tag to repair all aspects of


Fundraising effort launches to repair Parkway amenities An anonymous donor is offering $300,000 toward repairs on the Blue Ridge Parkway — but only if other Parkway supporters match the donation by June 30, 2020. If the fundraising campaign falls short, the gift will be forfeited.

Robert Burton (left) displays his winning photo alongside Smokies Superintendent Cassius Cash. NPS photo

Smokies volunteer wins national photo contest Robert Burton, a volunteer in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, was recently chosen as the grand prize winner in the U.S. Department of the Interior’s 2018 Share the Experience employee photography contest. Burton captured his winning image of a pipevine swallowtail butterfly on a turk’s cap lily near Collins Gap along Clingmans

Dome Road. From Schertz, Texas, Burton has been volunteering for the park’s backcountry office since 2016. His winning photo was selected from among 804 entries for its exemplary photographic qualities and showcasing of public lands. “I think the photo is representative of the vast beauty of the park,” said Burton. “I feel honored and privileged to represent Great Smoky Mountains National Park.” A copy of the photo is displayed at the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, with a second copy on permanent display in a conference room at the DOI headquarters in Washington, D.C.

December 4-10, 2019

NHC to hold holiday party The Nantahala Hiking Club will hold its annual holiday party 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, at the Franklin Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Attendees should bring an hors d’oevres to share and the beverage of their choice. Mary Stone, 828.369.7352.

Martin’s Creek Falls

The Nantahala Hiking Club will explore two area trails this weekend, with visitors welcome to join. • A 6-mile hike to Martin’s Creek Falls on the Georgia Bartram Trail will end at a platform perfect for viewing the falls while enjoying lunch, with the group meeting in Franklin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. The hike is rated moderate, with an elevation gain of 520 feet. RSVP to hike leader Mary Stone, 828.369.7352. • A hike along the Coweeta Loop at the Coweeta Hydrological Laboratory in Otto will embark after a 1 p.m. meeting in Franklin. The route will include two water-

sheds and a lovely white pine grove, with a total distance of 4 miles and 700 feet of elevation gain for a difficulty rating of moderate. Dogs welcome. RSVP to hike leader Katharine Brown, 828.421.4178.

Smoky Mountain News

Nantahala Hiking Club

Friday • December 6



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Smoky Mountain News

December 4-10, 2019


turn providing valuable training procedures to students. The increase in bat-related jobs is driven in part by the spread of White Nose Syndrome, which has decimated populations across Current HCC student Lucas Evanko (left) watches the East Coast. as Blake Ledbetter, a former HCC student who now “This summer alone, works as a bat technician, holds a bat. Donated photo five of HCC’s recent fish and wildlife graduates went on to work in bat-related positions and another is beginning a bat-related master’s program in graduate school,” Woods said. “Learning capture techniques is a highly marketable as well as practical skill for land managers and technicians in the modern wildlife management age to possess. By being able to demonstrate proper capture and handling techniques, our students will be more competitive for these new jobs.” will help ensure HCC students get the trainAccording to the Centers for Disease ing they need to enter that burgeoning field. Control and Prevention, over the last 55 Wally Woods, who holds a doctorate years 70 percent of rabies infections and is an HCC fish and wildlife instructor, acquired in the U.S. were due to bats. will use the grant to cover the cost of a “Rabies is a deadly but preventable disrabies vaccine. Woods’ profession puts him ease,” Woods explains. “The peace of mind at a higher-than-normal risk of exposure to of not having to worry about rabies is pricerabies, and the pre-exposure vaccine will less.” allow him to safely handle and trap bats, in The number of wildlife jobs relating to bat research has spiked significantly in recent years, and a mini grant from the Haywood Community College Foundation

Jason Kimenker, executive director of Friends of Panthertown, accepts a $7,500 check from Burt Kornegay. Donated photo

Mapmaker donates to Panthertown


HCC students develop bat capture skills


The Panthertown Map Association has donated $7,500 to Friends of Panthertown. Panthertown Map Association is the nonprofit publisher of Burt Kornegay’s “A Guide’s Guide to Panthertown,” which has become the definitive map of the valley, showing both official and unofficial trails. Over the years, Kornegay has given portions of the proceeds to various nonprofits that support, protect and maintain Panthertown. Now retired from his guiding trips, Kornegay has formed the Panthertown Map Association to manage map sales and updates, with proceeds benefiting Panthertown. The guide is available at local retailers and online at


All phone numbers area code 828 unless otherwise noted.

• The Jackson County Branch of the NAACP will host a community event to discuss white supremacy from 8:30-4 p.m. on Dec. 7 at the University Center on Western Carolina University’s campus in Cullowhee. Child care and transportation, if needed, will be provided.

WCU’s Biltmore Park location in Asheville. $99. Info or to register: or 227.7397.

• The Franklin Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for Citizen of the Year, the Duke Power Citizenship & Service Award, Youth Citizenship Award and Club/Organization of the Year. Nomination letters due by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 18: or 98 Hyatt Road, Franklin, NC 28734.

• Swain County Genealogical and Historical Society annual Holiday Shopping Auction is scheduled for Dec. 5. Handmade crafts, artwork, subscriptions, sports equipment, tickets to area attractions, gift baskets, gift cards and more will be up for auction. Proceeds will upgrade equipment and resources in the genealogy library.

• An informational meeting for property owners and tenants on N.C. 107 in Sylva will be held from 3-7 p.m. on Dec. 9 in the gymnasium at First United Methodist Church, 77 Jackson St., in Sylva. Designs, which are more than 65 percent complete, will be displayed, and project team members will be available to answer questions. Drop-by event; no formal presentation will be made. Info on the meeting or project:, or 586.2141. • Western Carolina University will hold two commencement ceremonies on Saturday, Dec. 14, in the Ramsey Center in Cullowhee. First ceremony is at 10 a.m. for the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education and Allied Professions and Belcher College of Fine and Performing Arts. Second is at 3 p.m. for colleges of Business, Health and Human Sciences and Engineering and Technology. Live streaming at Info: 227.7216 or • RSVPs are being accepted for a Restaurant Enrichment Meeting & Luncheon hosted by the Jackson County Department of Public Health from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Dec. 17 at Southwestern Community College’s Burrell Building. Restaurant owners and staff connect with JCDPH Environmental Health staff, learn about specific topics and network. RSVP: 587.8250. Info: 587.8246 or • The Jackson County Tourism Development Authority’s meeting will be held at 1 p.m. on Dec. 18 in Room 102A of the Burrell Building Conference Room at Southwestern Community College in Sylva. • The Juvenile Crime Prevention Council will hold a regular meeting at noon on Jan. 9 at the Justice & Administration Building, 401 Grindstaff Cove Rd., Room A227, in Sylva.

BUSINESS & EDUCATION • Registration is underway for the spring semester at Haywood Community College in Clyde., or 627.2821. • Registration is underway for Western Carolina University’s Office of Professional Growth and Enrichment’s workshop entitled: “Proactive Strategies for Preventing Employee Hiccups During the Holidays,” which will be offered from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 5, at WCU Biltmore Park in Asheville. Instructor is Jon Yarbrough of Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLC. Early-bird registration is $85 by Nov. 30. After, it’s $99. For info and to register: or 227.7397. • Registration is underway for a “Better Communication Through Creative Play for Marketing and Sales Professionals” workshop offered by Western Carolina University’s Office of Professional Growth and Enrichment from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, at


• The Jackson County Public Schools Student Support Services will hold its “Stuff the Bus” event from 6-9 p.m. on Dec. 6-7 and Dec. 13-14 near Jarrett Memorial Baptist Church in Dillsboro during the Lights and Luminaries festival. Goal is to raise $10,000 and collect food, clothing and toiletries for students in need. This year’s items will be collected in a custom miniature school bus built by students at Jackson Community School. District aims to assemble up to 350 small food bags with snacks and microwavable items to send home with students as needed for the upcoming winter break. 586.2311, ext. 1922, or • The Sylva Garden Club will be hosting a fundraiser “Christmas Tea & Crafts” from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the First Presbyterian Church of Sylva. Suggested donation is $15 per ticket. Tickets are available from SGC members and at the door. In addition to tasty treats and fellowship, pecans and Christmas décor will be available for purchase. All proceeds go directly to fund SGC beautification projects. Please email for further information. • Cops & Kids is holding its toy drive from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, at 1200 S. Main St., Waynesville. Bring a new unwrapped toy to place under the tree for less-fortunate children in Haywood County. Hors d’oeuvres will be served. • The Episcopal Church Women of Grace Church in the Mountains will hold a fundraiser for local homeless by selling a variety of homemade Christmas goodies from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 394 Haywood St. Proceeds benefit Pathways Center, local homeless shelter. 456.6029.

Smoky Mountain News

• An Essential Oil class will be offered at Lazy Hiker/Mad Batter Kitchen in Sylva at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 11. Lacking sleep, digestive issues, mood imbalance, in pain. Call or text Wende Goode at 246.2256 to reserve your space at class and receive a free trial sample of oil tailored to your personalized health need. Limit of 12 participants. Call even if you are unable to attend class but still interested in learning more and receiving a sample. • Sunrise Flow + Ground is set for 7-8:15 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 16, at Waynesville Yoga Center. Cost: $15. Info and reservations: 246.6570 or • Buti Yoga + Bubbles is set for 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 20, at Waynesville Yoga Center. Cost: $15. Info and reservations: 246.6570 or • Yoga for Back Care is set for noon-1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21, at Waynesville Yoga Center. Cost: $15. Info and reservations: 246.6570 or • Wheels of Life: Deep Dive Into the Chakra System will be offered from 2-3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21, at Waynesville Yoga Center. Cost: $15. Info and reservations: 246.6570 or • Haywood County Health & Human Services Agency will hold a monthly night clinic from 4:30-6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at 157 Paragon Parkway in Clyde next to Tractor Supply. Annual exams, birth control, child health, lab testing, immunizations, STI/STD exams and counseling. Appointments: 452.6675. • The WNC Ostomy Support Group will meet from 6-7 p.m. every second Monday at the Jackson County Center Cooperative Extension’s Meeting Room, 876 Skyland Dr., Suite 6, in Sylva. Group is for people living with a urostomy, ileostomy, colostomy or a continent diversion. Facilitated by Certified Ostomy Nurses. • Gentle Yoga for Cancer is offered from 1:30-2:30 p.m. on Fridays at the Haywood Breast Center in Waynesville. Info: or 452.8691. • On the third weekend of each month, Maggie Valley Wellness Center hosts donation-based acupuncture appointments. $35-55. 944.0288 or

• Waynesville Pizza Company is holding a basket raffle through Dec. 20 to benefit Haywood County Animal Shelter. Tickets are $5 for 1 or $20 for 5 and can be purchased at Waynesville Pizza. Basket value is more than $500 and includes donations from local businesses and artisans.

• A Community Acupuncture Clinic is held on the third weekend of each month at 461 Moody Farm Road in Maggie Valley. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and 1-4 p.m. on Sunday. Sliding scale cost is $35-$55. Offered by Barbara Dennis, a Licensed Acupuncturist and Registered Nurse.

• Stonehouse Pottery (Waynesville) will be doing an Open Studio Tour and Sale the first Sunday of each month to help support our local nonprofits. Each month highlights a different artist and that artists chooses his or her nonprofit. Stonehouse Pottery and the artist then give a portion of the proceeds as a donation to that nonprofit.

• The Jackson County Senior Center will offer a Caregiver Education Class at 10 a.m. on the third Monday of every month in the Board Room of the Department of Aging in Sylva. 586.5494.

HEALTH MATTERS • Thursday evening Restorative Yoga with Reiki energy healing is set for 6 p.m. on Dec. 5 at Sylva Yoga. • Warm Restorative Yoga + CBD Oil will be offered from 6:45-7:45 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8, at Waynesville Yoga Center. Cost: $15. Info and reservations: 246.6570 or • Sunrise Flow + Ground is set for 7-8:15 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 9, at Waynesville Yoga Center. Cost: $15. Info and reservations: 246.6570 or

• A support group for persons with Multiple Sclerosis as well as family, friends and caregivers meets at 6:45 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month in the conference room of the Jackson county Public Library in Sylva. 293.2503. • A support group for anyone with MS, family & friends meets monthly at 6:45 p.m. on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at the conference room of Jackson Co. Library in Sylva. No Fee, sponsored by National MS Society. Local contact: Gordon Gaebel 828-293-2503. • The Haywood County Health & Human Services Public Health Services Division is offering a Night Clinic from 4-6:30 p.m. on the third Monday of every month in Waynesville. Services include family planning, immunizations, pregnancy testing, STD testing and treatment. Appointments: 452.6675.


Visit and click on Calendar for: ■ Complete listings of local music scene ■ Regional festivals ■ Art gallery events and openings ■ Complete listings of recreational offerings at regional health and fitness centers ■ Civic and social club gatherings • Dogwood Insight Center presents health talks at 6:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month. • Angel Medical Center’s diabetes support group meets at 4 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month in the AMC dining room. 369.4166. • A Tuesday Meditation Group meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Franklin.

RECREATION AND FITNESS • The High Mountain Squares will host their 12th annual “Toys for Tots Dance” from 6:15-8:45 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, at the Robert C. Carpenter Community Building on 441 South in Franklin. Admission is one new unwrapped toy. Western-style square dancing, mainstream and levels. 787.2324, 332.0001, 727.599.1440 or 706.746.5426. • Sylva Yoga will host a Winter Wonder Yoga Workshop from 3-4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, in Sylva. Relaxing, reflective, joyful practice celebrating the solstice and the returning of light. • Sylva Yoga will hold an Open House and Winter Solstice Celebration from 5-8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21, in Sylva. Refreshments and live music. • Dance Tonight Haywood offers weekly evening classes at 61 ½ Main Street in Canton. For times, prices and to RSVP, call 316.1344. • The Waynesville Parks and Recreation Department is now offering pickleball on four indoor courts from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays, at the Waynesville Recreation Center. Equipment provided; free for members or daily admission for nonmembers. 456.2030 or • ZUMBA is offered at First United Methodist Church in Waynesville on Thursdays at 6 p.m. with Patti Burke. Check Facebook page Patti Burke Zumba Students for additional information such as holiday or weather related cancelations. $5 per class. • There will be several ballroom and Latin dance classes offered on Sundays and Mondays at Frog Level Brewing in Waynesville. Classes for beginners, intermediate and all levels. $10 per class. For more information, click on • Pickleball is from 1-3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday nights at First Methodist Church in Sylva. $1 each time you play; equipment provided. 293.3053. • The Canton Armory is open to the public for walking from 7:45-9 a.m. on Monday through Friday unless the facility is booked till spring. 648.2363.

SPIRITUAL • Grand Opening of Christian Acts Church is set for 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1, at 257 E. Alarka Road in Bryson City. Music ministry by guests Martha and Sharon Braswell and Robert and Audreyana Lowe. Refreshments following: 488.2432.

wnc calendar

POLITICAL • The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will hold a Quasi-Judicial Hearing (cell tower) at 4 p.m. on Dec. 10 in room A201 of the Jackson County Justice Center in Sylva. • The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will have a work session at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 12, at the Jackson County Justice Center, Room A227, in Sylva. • The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will hold a Public Hearing (Cashiers Ordinance Amendment) at 5:55 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12, at the Cashiers Rec Center. • The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will hold a regular meeting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12, at the Cashiers Rec Center. • The Jackson County Board of Commissioners will hold a regular meeting at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 17, in Room A201 of the Jackson County Justice Center in Sylva. • Tickets are on sale now for the 27th annual Charles Taylor Holiday Dinner, which will be held at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21, at the Expo Center at the Crowne Plaza Resort in Asheville. Hosted by Charles Taylor and family. Taylor is the longest-serving Republican Congressman in Western North Carolina history. Hear from national speakers and meet federal, state and local candidates. Tickets: $65 per person. 243.2187 or Send checks to Taylor, P.O. Box 7587, Asheville, NC 28802. • Tickets and corporate table reservations are available for the Annual Awards Banquet and Franklin Chamber of Commerce annual meeting, which are at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 16, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin. Info and reservations: 524.3161.

December 4-10, 2019

• The Jackson County NAACP meets at 10 a.m. on the third Saturday each month at Liberty Baptist Church in Sylva. • Down Home Haywood holds its monthly community meetings at 2:30 p.m. on the third Saturday of each month at Canton Presbyterian Church. Tackling issues like healthcare, wages, housing and more.

AUTHORS AND BOOKS • Susanna Shetley, author of the recently published picture book “The Jolt Felt Around the World,” will hold an author event from 3-5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, at Blue Ridge Books, 428 Hazelwood Ave. in Waynesville. Refreshments and art activity for kids.

Smoky Mountain News

• A poetry reading is held at 2 p.m. on the last Saturday of each month at Panacea in Waynesville. Bring poetry, essays and writings.

• Family Art Making Circle is set for 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, at Waynesville Art School, 303 N. Haywood St., in Waynesville. Dr. Seuss and The Grinch-inspired Christmas crafts. or 246.9869.

• Canton Book Club meets at 3:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month, at the Canton Library. 648.2924.

• Kids’ Night Out for ages 4-14 is set for 6-8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 20, at Waynesville Art School, 303 N. Haywood St., in Waynesville. or 246.9869.

SENIOR ACTIVITIES • The Mexican Train Dominoes Group seeks new players to join games at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays at the Haywood County Senior Resource Center in Waynesville. 356.2800. • Book Club is held at 2 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month at the Haywood County Senior Resource Center in Waynesville. 356.2800 • A Hand & Foot card game is held at 1 p.m. on Thursdays at Haywood County Senior Resource Center in Waynesville. 356.2800. • Senior Sale Day is on the third Friday of every month at the Friends of the Library Used Bookstore. Patrons 60 and older get 20 percent off all purchases. Proceeds benefit the Sylva Library.

• Registration is underway for a pair of basketball camps that will be offered this winter at Waynesville Recreation Center. led by former Appalachian State head coach Kevin Cantwell. Camps are held from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Dec. 30-31 and Jan. 2-3. $100 per camper, or attend both camps for $175. Applications available at Waynesville Recreation Center; make checks payable to Cantwell. Info: or

• Pinochle game is played at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Haywood County Senior Resource Center in Waynesville. 356.2800. • Mah Jongg is played at 1 p.m. on Wednesdays at Haywood County Senior Resource Center in Waynesville. 356.2800.

• The “Polar Express” will depart on select times through Dec. 31 from the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad depot.

• A Parkinson’s Support Group is held at 2 p.m. on the last Wednesday of each month at the Haywood County Senior Resource Center in Waynesville. 356.2800.

• Mother Goose On the Loose early childhood curriculum will be featured in a Reading Adventures Storytime program that’s offered at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesdays at Marianna Black Library in Bryson City. Blends rhyming with movement, storytelling, simple songs, music and sensory play. 488.3030.

KIDS & FAMILIES • Family Art Making Circle is set for 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, at Waynesville Art School, 303 N. Haywood St., in Waynesville. Whimsical Christmas decorations. or 246.9869. • There will be auditions for KIDS at HART for a stage production of “Mary Poppins Jr.” held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Haywood Arts Regional Theatre in Waynesville. The show “Mary Poppins Jr.” will be performed on March 7-8 and 14-15 at HART. There are roles for all ages in this story of a nanny who comes into the lives of the Bank’s family in turn of the century London. Those auditioning should come prepared to sing. The production is being directed by Shelia Sumpter. HART is located at 250 Pigeon St. in Waynesville. • Kids’ Night Out for ages 6-14 is set for 6-8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, at Waynesville Art School, 303 N. Haywood St., in Waynesville. or 246.9869.

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• Family Art Making Circle is set for 11 a.m.-noon on Saturday, Dec. 21, at Waynesville Art School, 303 N. Haywood St., in Waynesville. Whimsical Christmas Decorations. or 246.9869.

• Registration is underway for the 2020 Region 8 Western Regional Science fair, which is set for Thursday and Friday, Feb. 13-14, in the Ramsey Regional Activity Center at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. Thursday’s event is for grades 3-5; Friday is for grades 6-12. Info: or 227.7397.

Helping Seniors

Norris Elder Services, LLC 48

• The North Carolina Writers' Network-West will sponsor The Literary Hour at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month. at the Keith House on the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown. This reading is free of charge and open to the public.

Norris Professional Building 177 North Main St., Waynesville

• Waynesville Art School offers the Young Artist Program in the afternoons for 5-6 year old, 7-8 year old, 9-12 year old. Intro to Printmaking and Evening studies in arts is offered for 13-19 year old. Waynesville Art School is located at 303 N. Haywood Street. Info: 246.9869, or visit for schedule and to register. • Mountain Wildlife offers wildlife education programs for schools and organizations in Western North Carolina, free of charge. If you are interested in having them visit your group contact them at, 743.9648 or visit the website at

KIDS FILMS • “Frozen II”, is showing Dec. 4-5 at Smoky Mountain Cinema in Waynesville Plaza. Visit or for showtimes,

pricing & tickets. Info. on Facebook or 246.0588. • “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”, will be showing on Dec. 6-19 at The Strand on Main through Nov. 21 in Waynesville. • “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”, will be showing Dec. 19-26 at Smoky Mountain Cinema in Waynesville Plaza. Visit or for showtimes, pricing & tickets. Info. on Facebook or 246.0588. • “Frozen II”, will be showing on Dec. 20-26 at The Strand on Main in Waynesville. • The Highlands Biological Foundation will offer a series of nature-themed films and documentaries shown at 6:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursday of March in Highlands. For info on each show, call 526.2221. • A family movie will be shown at 10:30 a.m. every Friday at Hudson Library in Highlands.

A&E HOLIDAY • Volunteers will wrap gifts for donations to Sarge’s Animal Rescue Foundation from through Dec. 24 at Mast General Store in Waynesville. Volunteers are being sought: Info on Sarge’s: 246.9050 or • First United Methodist Church will offer two Advent studies during the Christmas Season: A Sisters Advent Study from 4:45-6 p.m. on Tuesdays, through Dec. 17; and a lunch hour Advent study on Trevor Hudson’s “Pauses for Advent” from noon-1 p.m. on Wednesdays, through Dec. 18, at 66 Harrison Ave., in Franklin. 524.3010 or • The Mountain Voices Christmas Concert will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, at First United Methodist Church in Franklin. Join this community chorus for an evening of Christmas music, both secular and sacred. The performance will include songs by the full chorus (with additional instrumentalists) as well as special selections featuring Pinnacle Brass. Mountain Voices is a community chorus under the direction of Beverly Barnett and accompanied by Mary Pittman with 70 members from around Western North Carolina and North Georgia. 524.3644. • Pictures with Santa will be offered from 5-6:30 p.m. on Dec. 6 at the Franklin Chamber of Commerce and Welcome Center, 98 Hyatt Rd. in Franklin. 524.3161. • The 36th annual “Lights & Luminaries” will return to the streets of downtown Dillsboro from 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 6-7 and 13-14. Experience the magic as the

Puzzles can be found on page 54 These are only the answers.

• Breakfast with Santa is from 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center, 121 Schoolhouse Rd. in Stecoah. 479.3364 or • The “Christmas in the Mountains” indoor arts and crafts show will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Stecoah Valley Center. • First Presbyterian Church will hold a “Community Christmas Cheer Breakfast” from 8-11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, in Waynesville. Family photos with Santa, Christmas music by the Tuscola Band, carols and bells with the Presbyterian choir and a Craft Guild holiday boutique. 734.9003, 926.1421 or • Christmas in the Mountains, an indoor art and craft show and sale with visiting artisans, is set for 9 a.m.2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center, 121 Schoolhouse Rd. in Stecoah. 479.3364 or • The 15th annual Christmas Worship in a Stable will be held from 5:30-6:10 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the 3rd Generation Barn Loft Farm at 84 Frank Mann Road, outside of Canton. In Casual service, Christmas carols, scripture readings, storyteller, special music and lighting. • Chimney Rock State Park will host family friendly, Christmas-themed events on Dec. 7 and Dec. 14. Photos with Santa, and local poet Eddie Cabbage will type out kids’ Christmas wish lists on his vintage typewriter and parchment paper.

• The annual “Sounds of the Season” concert will be presented by Western Carolina University’s School of Music on Sunday, Dec. 8, at the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center in Cullowhee. The holiday musical tradition begins at 3 p.m. and will include performances by WCU’s Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, University Chorus, Concert Choir and Civic Orchestra, along with Balsam Brass and the Cullowhee Wind Quintet. The family friendly concert concludes with a holiday sing-along and an appearance by Santa Claus. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for WCU faculty and staff, and those 60 and older, while students and kids remain at $5.

• A Christmas craft program will be offered from 3:30-4:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 9, before the parade at the Waynesville Public Library. Presented by Waynesville Art School. or 246.9869. • The Western Carolina Civic Orchestra will present the annual “Community Christmas Concert” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 10, at the Jackson County Public Library in Sylva. The musical celebration will begin at 6:15 p.m. with caroling on the courthouse steps. Phil and Gayle Woody will lead all comers in singing traditional carols. 586.2016. • The Mountain Winds Community Band will present a concert of holiday favorites at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 11, in the Coulter Recital Hall at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. Group is comprised of members from Jackson and surrounding counties

Quality Trailers, Quality Prices

• The Otto Children’s Christmas Party is set for 6-8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, at the Otto Community Center, 60 Firehouse Rd., in Otto. Games, prizes, hot chocolate, coffee, tea, crafts, photos with Santa, music, decorations and caroling.

pricing starting at $499

FOOD & DRINK • The “Uncorked: Wine & Rail Pairing Experience” will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec 31 at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in Bryson City. Full service all-adult first-class car. Wine pairings with a meal and more. 800.872.4681 or

Trailer Center

financing available, ask for details 828-456-6051 | 100 Charles St. | Waynesville

• Bosu’s Wine Shop in Waynesville is offering lunch on Saturdays, “Lunch with us” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. featuring fresh seasonal menu with outdoor seating weather preminting. 452.0120 or • Bryson City Wine Market offers flights from 4-7 p.m. on Fridays and from 2-5 p.m. on Saturdays. Flight of four wines for $5. • Bosu’s Wine Shop in Waynesville will host five for $5 Wine Tasting from 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursdays. Come taste five magnificent wines and dine on Chef Bryan’s gourmet cuisine. 452.0120 or • Secret Wine Bar is hosted by Bosu’s in Waynesville on Fridays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Contact for more information and make reservations. 452.1020. • A free wine tasting will be held from 1-5 p.m. on Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Bosu Wine Shop in Waynesville. 452.0120 or Bosu’s will host a Cocktails & Lunch on Saturday’s. Serving house-made champagne cocktails from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. • A free wine tasting will be held from 2-5 p.m. on Saturdays at Papou’s Wine Shop in Sylva. or 631.3075. • “Brown Bag at the Depot” – an opportunity to gather with neighbors – is at noon every Friday at Sylva’s newest park at the corner of Spring and Mill Street along Railroad Ave. For info, contact Paige Dowling at • Graceann’s Amazing Breakfast is 8-10 a.m. every Tuesday in the Sapphire Room at the Sapphire Valley Community Center. $8.50 for adults; $5 for children. Includes coffee and orange juice. 743.7663. • Free cooking demonstrations will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Saturdays at Country Traditions in Dillsboro. Watch the demonstrations, eat samples and taste house wines for $3 a glass. All recipes posted online. • A game day will occur from 2-9 p.m. every third Saturday of the month at Papou’s Wine Shop & Bar in Sylva. Bring dice, cards or board games. 586.6300. • A wine tasting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays The Classic Wineseller in Waynesville. Free with dinner ($15 minimum). 452.6000.

Eating Plan for High Blood Pressure? Do the DASH! My husband has high blood pressure so I need to find a diet for him to follow that I can also eat, and since we are on a fixed income it can’t be expensive. A tried and true diet that has been shown to reduce high blood pressure is the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan. One of the things I like about this eating plan is that the foods recommended are all ones you can easily purchase at your local Ingles Market. Some other tips I give individuals who are trying to control their blood pressure through diet and lifestyle changes: • Get regular exercise (as long as this is ok with your physician). • Read the nutrition facts panel for the sodium amount and check the serving size. • Rinse canned vegetables or purchase lower/reduced sodium vegetables. • Check for “sneaky” sodium in cereals, condiments, and sliced breads. • Limit your meals out since you won’t know the sodium amount.

ON STAGE & IN CONCERT • Tickets are available now for Holidays at the University Center, which will be held at 5 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 4-5, in the University Center at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. Tickets: $5 for WCU students, $10 for non-WCU students and WCU faculty and staff and $15 for general admission. Available at or 227.2479.

Smoky Mountain News

Proceeds benefit the School of Music Scholarship Fund. 227.2479 or

• Reservations are being accepted for “Appalachian Christmas,” which is Dec. 12-15 at Lake Junaluska. Festivities include Handel’s Messiah, featuring the Lake Junaluska Singers, other musical entertainment and a craft show. or 800.222.4930.

December 4-10, 2019

• The chancel choir at First United Methodist Church will present a Christmas musical at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8, in the church sanctuary, 77 Jackson St. in downtown Sylva. “Joh Has Dawned: A Christmas Celebration” by Lloyd Larson. 586.2358.

as well as WCU and area high school students.

wnc calendar

entire town is transformed into a winter wonderland of lights, candles, laughter and song. Over 2,500 luminaries light your way to shops and studios. Horse and buggy rides available each night. Shopkeepers provide live music and serve holiday treats with hot cider and cocoa. Carolers sing and children visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Live Nativity at Jarrett Memorial Baptist Church.Free shuttle service from Monteith Park.


wnc calendar

• The second annual “Bluegrass Boogie” will be held at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, in The Gem downstairs taproom at Boojum Brewing in Waynesville. This will be an unofficial kickoff event for the Balsam Range Art of Music Festival. The event is free and open to the public. • Andrew Peterson will hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin. Tickets start at $25. For more information and/or to purchase tickets, call 524.1598 or click on • The First Thursday Old-Time and Bluegrass Series will continue with Granny’s Mason Jar at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. 227.7129 or • Tickets are on sale now for the Balsam Range Art of Music Festival, which is Dec. 6-8 at Lake Junaluska. The award-winning bluegrass group will perform alongside other top bluegrass and acoustic musicians. or 800.222.4930. • Steven Curtis Chapman will perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin. • The Spirit of Christmas a Christmas sing-along show hosted by Franklin musicians Stewart & Metz will be on stage at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 14 at The Strand on Main in Waynesville. • LeAnn Rimes will hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin. Tickets start at $35 with VIP seating available. 524.1598 or

December 4-10, 2019

• Tickets are on sale now for the second session of the Mountain Memories Performance Series: “A Mountain Christmas,” set for 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, at Queen Auditorium at Folkmoot in Waynesville. Storytelling, music and dance. Tickets: $20; available at • Acoustic guitarist Jim Elenteny will be on stage at 6 p.m. on Dec. 15 at The Strand on Main in Waynesville. • Tickets are available now for a performance by the Fisk Jubilee Singers, which is set for 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, in the University Center at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. Tickets: $5 for WCU students, $10 for non-WCU students and WCU faculty and staff and $15 for general admission. Available at or 227.2479.


Smoky Mountain News

• Western North Carolina Cribbage Club meets at 6:30 p.m. every Monday. Info: 926.3978. • The Weekly Open Studio art classes will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays at the Haywood County Arts Council in Waynesville, Instructor will be Betina Morgan. Open to all artists, at any stage of development, and in the medium of your choice. Cost is $25 per class. There will also be a Youth Art Class from 4:15 to 5:15 p.m. on Wednesdays. Cost is $15 per class. Contact Morgan at 550.6190 or email • Leon Jones will give a talk about his time in Peru at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 4, in the Macon County Public Library Meeting Room in Franklin. Slide presentation. • Painting Night for adults is from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5, at Waynesville Art School, 303 N. Haywood St., in Waynesville. or 246.9869.

• Susan Balentine’s annual pottery sale is set for 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6-7, in her home studio, 274 Calhoun Road in Waynesville. Functional and decorative high fire stoneware pottery with nature-inspired designs on sale for 20-percent 50 off.

• The Haywood County Historical & Genealogical Society will host a “WWII Show & Tell” at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Waynesville Branch of the Haywood County Library. Bring an artifact that represents the WWII era. Info: 275.4057. • A Holidays Creation Event, an opportunity to make holiday decorations from natural materials, is set for 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Highlands Nature Center, 930 Horse Cove Road in Highlands. 526.2623. • Glass ornament classes will be held in 30-minute time slots from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on consecutive Saturdays, Dec. 7 and 14, at Green Energy Park in Dillsboro. Cost: $35 per time slot. Create one glass art ornament. Register: 631.0271. Walkins welcome. • Reservations are being accepted for the annual Master Gardener Wreath-Making Event, which is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Cooperative Extension Office, 589 Raccoon Road, Suite 118, in Waynesville. Sessions are from 9:30 a.m.-noon and 13:30 p.m. Cost: $25 for one 16-inch wreath (materials included). Additional wreaths are $20 each. To reserve your spot, send a $25 check to Extension-Wreath Workshop, 589 Raccoon Road, Suite 118, Waynesville, NC 28786. Questions: or 456.3575. • “Wine Glass Painting Party” will be held at 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12, at the Andrews Brewing Company in Andrews. • “Paint & Sip Winter Scene” class will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16, at Mountain Layers Brewing in Bryson City. For $30 you get all the supplies and instruction you need to create your own winter scene painting to bring home. Please sign up in advance by texting WNC Paint Events at 400.9560. • Painting Night for adults is set for 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 19, at Waynesville Art School, 303 N. Haywood St., in Waynesville. or 246.9869.

ART SHOWINGS AND GALLERIES • The Highlands Performing Arts Center and the Bascom, Visual Arts Center, will present a new installment of Great Art on Screen: “The Prado Museum, a Collection of Wonders” at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, at 507 Chestnut St., in Highlands. Tickets: or Reservations: 526.1019. • The Western Carolina University Fine Art Museum at Bardo Arts Center is pleased to present, “Resounding Change: Sonic Art and the Environment.” This exhibition will be on display through Dec. 6. • A showing of new works and a series of prints by Jenean Hornbuckle, a landscape painter, will open with an artist reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Rotunda Gallery in the Sylva library. or 507.9820. • The next SADC pop-up gallery, titled “The Blending of Tradition and Modernity in Culture Groups,” will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, at Viva Arts Studio in Sylva. The exhibition will feature artists of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, who offer perspectives on the blending of tradition, culture and modernity from a wide variety of contexts and experiences.

mediums. Enrolled EBCI members will be given preference. Mediums can include, but are not limited to, paintings (oil, acrylic, pastels, watercolor) photography, fiber arts, metal, mixed media and sculpture. Please email if you want the formal “Call to Artists” application and information. • The Haywood County Arts Council annual show, “It’s a Small, Small Work,” will be held through Jan. 4 in HCAC Gallery & Gifts in Waynesville. The 2019 exhibit will feature 60 artists and almost 240 individual works of art for sale. or 452.0593. • Applications are being accepted for artists who want their work included in monthly gallery exhibits or retail spaces through the Haywood County Arts Council. or • The Museum of the Cherokee Indian has recently opened a major new exhibit, “People of the Clay: Contemporary Cherokee Potters.” It features more than 60 potters from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Cherokee Nation, and more than one hundred works from 1900 to the present. The exhibit will run through April 2020. • New artist and medium will be featured every month at the Haywood County Senior Resource Center in Waynesville. 356.2800.

FILM & SCREEN • “Ford v Ferrari”, is showing through Dec. 5 at Smoky Mountain Cinema in Waynesville Plaza. Visit or for showtimes, pricing & tickets. Info. on Facebook or 246.0588. • “Knives Out”, is showing through Dec. 5 at Smoky Mountain Cinema in Waynesville Plaza. Visit or for showtimes, pricing & tickets. Info. on Facebook or 246.0588. • “JoJo Rabbit”, is showing at The Strand on Main through Dec. 5 in Waynesville. • The Second Tuesday Movie Group meets at 2 p.m. in the Waynesville Library Auditorium. For info, including movie title: 452.5169.

Outdoors • Amy Allison, the new director of the state’s Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, will attend the Annual Meeting & Education Seminar of Smoky Mountain Host, which is Dec. 5 at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort Hotel in Cherokee. Registration info: or 200.1221. • Black Balsam Outdoors will celebrate its one-year anniversary with music and drinks from 6-9 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, on Main Street in downtown Sylva.

• Acrylic and watercolor painter Linda Blount and acrylic painter Jason Woodard will have their works showing in the auditorium of the Waynesville branch library through January 2020. The showcase is provided by the Haywood County Arts Council/Haywood County Public Library through the collaborative “Art Works @ The Library” program.

• Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will offer a three-mile, guided day hike on Tuesday, Dec. 10, on Goldmine Loop Trail near Bryson City. Final hike of the year for this group. For info or to register: $20 for current members; $35 for new members. Proceeds benefit Trails Forever, a partnership between Friends of the Smokies and the National Park Service dedicated to reconstructing and rehabilitating some of the park’s most impacted trails.

• Cherokee Indian Hospital is issuing a “Call to Artists” for the new Analenisgi Inpatient Unit. The mission is to create community pride and ownership using a variety of culturally significant, healing art

• The Asheville Winter Bike League will offer structured group rides at 10 a.m. every Saturday through Jan. 25. $5 donation requested. Sign up required:

• Sons of the American Legion will present a Turkey Shoot at 9 a.m. every Saturday through April at 171 Legion Dr. in Waynesville. $2 per round; refreshments provided. Weather permitting. 456.8691. • The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Hatchery Supported Trout Waters is open from 7 a.m. until onehalf-hour after sunset until last day of February. Info:

COMPETITIVE EDGE • Girls on the Run of WNC 5K is set for Sunday, Dec. 8, at the Asheville Outlets. Cost: $30 adults, $15 ages 12-under before Dec. 7 at; Race day registration is $40. Volunteers: or Info:

FARM AND GARDEN • Garden workdays are held from 3 p.m. until dusk every Wednesday at Cullowhee Community Garden, 65 S. Painter Road. Weeding, mulching, general garden maintenance. 587.8212. • The Haywood County Plant Clinic is open every business day at the Haywood County Extension Center on Raccoon Road in Waynesville. Master Gardeners are available to answer questions about lawns, vegetables, flowers, trees and more. Info: 456.3575.

HIKING CLUBS • The Nantahala Hiking Club will hold its annual holiday party from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, at the Franklin Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Bring an hors d’oevres to share and beverage of your choice. 369.7352. • Nantahala Hiking Club holds monthly trail maintenance days from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on every fourth Saturday at 173 Carl Slagle Road in Franklin. Info and to register: 369.1983. • Hike of the Week is at 10 a.m. every Friday at varying locations along the parkway. Led by National Park Service rangers. or 298.5330, ext. 304. • Friends of the Smokies hikes are offered on the second Tuesday of each month. • Nantahala Hiking Club based in Macon County holds weekly Saturday hikes in the Nantahala National Forest and beyond. • High Country Hikers, based out of Hendersonville but hiking throughout Western North Carolina, plans hikes every Monday and Thursday. Schedules, meeting places and more information are available on their website, • Carolina Mountain Club hosts more than 150 hikes a year, including options for full days on weekends, full days on Wednesdays and half days on Sundays. Non-members contact event leaders. • Mountain High Hikers, based in Young Harris, Ga., leads several hikes per week. Guests should contact hike leader. • Smoky Mountain Hiking Club, located in East Tennessee, makes weekly hikes in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park as well as surrounding areas. • Benton MacKaye Trail Association incorporates outings for hikes, trail maintenance and other work trips. No experience is necessary to participate. • Diamond Brand’s Women’s Hiking Group meets on the third Saturday of every month. For more information, e-mail or call 684.6262.

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For More Information Call


• • • •


Elderly Community (62 or Older) AVAILABLE IMMEDIATELY! Energy Efficient, Affordable 1 Bed Room Apartments. Starting at $445 - Rental Assistance Available


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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender

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December 4-10, 2019

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Smoky Mountain News

December 4-10, 2019




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54 56 58 60 62 64 65 66 67 68 69 73 74 75 78 80 82 85 86 87 88 90 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 105 106 108 110 111 112

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Etowah Mound largest in the Southeast Editor’s note: This column first appeared in a December 2002 edition of The Smoky Mountain News.


George Ellison

Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site. site in the mid-20th century, it was first overgrown with trees and then cleared and farmed. The slopes of the lower mounds were cultivated as was the top of the Mound A. Today the view from the top of Mound A is stunning. Where the council house once stood, there is a panoramic view of the Etowah River valley. Here, for 500 or more years, people farmed, went to war, fished, played games, sang and danced, raised their families, and died. And then they were driven away.

The site is closed on Monday. It is open year-round Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. (except Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s). There is a nominal admission fee. For information, call 404.387.3747. To reach the site from I-75, take Exit 24 (the Main Street exit) and follow the brown state signs for six miles through the town of Cartersville. (George Ellison is a writer and naturalist who lives in Bryson City.

December 4-10, 2019

Sometimes it's a little better to travel than to arrive

Smoky Mountain News

hen I’m in the Atlanta area, I often set aside a few hours to visit the Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site, which is located on the western edge of Cartersville. For me, it’s the most impressive mound site in the southeastern United States. I recommend it to you. The visitor center features one of the finest displays of Indian artifacts that I’ve seen. Most all of the items were excavated from a burial mound on the site by Columnist the Georgia Historical Commission in the late 1950s. Given the current attitude toward such excavations this would have rightly been taboo, but a half a century ago no one was hesitant to excavate such sites; so, one visits them with a bit of trepidation, hoping that what one learns and feels offsets the intrusion. I have been encouraged in visiting and writing about such public sites to observe, in almost every instance, Native American visitors as well. The copper metal work is the most extensive that I’ve encountered in the Southeast. And the marble statuettes of Kanati and Selu, the ancient male and female figures in Cherokee mythology, are excellent. A self-guided trail will first take you by a defensive trench called a “borrow pit.” As dirt was dug to build the mounds, a trench 20 yards wide and 10 feet deep in places was created that surrounded the mounds and village on three sides. Just inside this trench the Indians built a palisade fence 15 or more feet high of sharp-pointed logs. At intervals along the palisade they placed lookout stands where bowmen could have a clear shot at enemies crossing the ditch and trying to breech the walls. On the fourth side is the Etowah River, which also provided a barrier against invasion, as well as a place to bathe, launch canoes, fish, and practice their going to water ceremonies. During times of low water, one can still see the outlines of an ancient fish trap in the river. Located throughout the southern mountain region wherever the Cherokees and other tribes situated their large villages alongside major streams, these devices allowed for huge quantities of fish to be taken at one time. Rock weirs or walls were constructed where the water was swift. Two converging, wall-like alignments formed a V-shape with an opening at its apex. Facing downstream, the V-shaped structure funneled fish into a wicker or log trap. Harvesting the fish swept into the traps was a piece of cake. They especially liked to catch freshwater catfish, which

BACK THEN could be cleaned but not skinned and smoked over a fire. The smoked and dried catfish provided valuable protein during the winter months. The guided trail also takes one through the area where a thriving town of 1,0002,000 Indians lived between about 1000 and 1500 A.D. The central plaza in front of the largest mound, known as Mound A, served as sort of a village green. It is a large area, maybe 30-by-40 yards, comprised of a clay surface that was carefully maintained. Here the Indians had a place to meet socially, welcome guests, or play games like stickball. According to Jerry McDonald and Susan Woodward, who wrote Indian Mounds of the Atlantic Coast: A Guide of Sites from Main to Florida (Newark, Ohio: McDonald & Woodward Publishing Co., 1987), “the town centered upon the large temple mound (A) and two smaller platform mounds (B and C) … Mound A apparently supported structures used by the political and religious leaders.” This structure was no doubt a sevensided council house made from thatching tree limbs or river cane between posts and then covering the sides with clay in a process known as daub and wattle. The roof would have been thatched from cane or other materials. Inside were raised platforms where the clans and their leaders gathered. A ramp on the eastern side of the mound (facing the rising sun) allowed access. Today there are wooden stairways where the old ramps were located so that visitors can also access the top of each mound without causing erosion on the sides. Mound A is quite imposing, being about 60 feet high and 335-by-395 feet at its base. In a report on his mound explorations in the 1890s, the 19th century anthropologist Cyrus Thomas noted that “This is truly a grand and remarkable structure, being exceeded in size in the United States … only by the great Chokia mound,” which is located near St. Louis. The use of Mound B is uncertain, but it may have been the site of a sub-chief ’s residence, or maybe the location of a shaman who functioned as both a medicine man and as a priest. The use of Mound C is certain. McDonald and Woodward describe it as being a “mortuary mound, site of the charnel house and numerous burials … Some burials were extended in-the-flesh burials, some of which were buried in stone tombs. Bundle burials and cremation were also represented. Grave goods associated with many of the burials of these burials were extremely rich and elaborate. Well represented were objects related to the Southern Ceremonial Complex and fine stone carvings, perhaps the most famous of which are two figures of humans carved in marble. Until the state of Georgia obtained the

- Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


W W W. b l u e r i d g e m o t o r c y c l i n g m a g a z i n e . c o m



Smoky Mountain News December 4-10, 2019

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Smoky Mountain News | December 4, 2019  

A weekly newspaper covering Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties in the Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina.

Smoky Mountain News | December 4, 2019  

A weekly newspaper covering Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties in the Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina.