Western North Carolinaâ€™s Source for Weekly News, Entertainment, Arts, and Outdoor Information
Dec. 11-17, 2013 Vol. 15 Iss. 28
Unlikely love story lands Cherokee mom in prison Page 14
Warren Haynesâ€™ Christmas Jam turns 25 Page 26
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On the Cover: The restaurants on the WCU campus that were destroyed by fire may not have the opportunity to re-occupy their long-time locations, but the Cullowhee community has come together in an outpouring of support for the owners and their employees. (Page 8) Ashley T. Evans photo
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Santa arrives early for Haywood families . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Leader of World Methodist Council gives sermon at Mandela funeral . . . . .7 Macon hires new, 28-year-old county manager . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Sylva mayor-elect turns down position, Moody to return . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 WCU trustees get earful about legislative decisions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Unlikely love story lands Cherokee jailer in prison for three years . . . .14-17 Maggie Valley town board vows to reform its ways . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Jackson retains “economically distressed” classification . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19
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Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts open house . . . . . . . . . .24 Warren Haynes prepares for 25th Christmas Jam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26
Outdoors The Smoky Mountain News outdoor gear guide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34
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Cherokee elders file suit against bear zoo Two months after sending a notice informing the Cherokee Bear Zoo of their intent to sue the roadside menagerie for violations of the Endangered Species Act, two enrolled elders of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians have filed a lawsuit challenging the zoo’s abusive practice of confining bears, including ESA-protected grizzly bears, to concrete pits. The elders’ lawsuit argues that these pits — which deny the bears the opportunity to express any natural behavior — violate the ESA’s prohibition on harming protected animals, and it seeks forfeiture of the bears. “It’s shameful that the Cherokee Bear Zoo is still displaying intelligent, sensitive bears in tiny concrete pits,” said tribal elder Amy Walker, who filed the lawsuit along with fellow elder Peggy Hill. “It’s obvious to anyone who sees them that these bears are suffering, and they will continue to suffer every day until they are sent to a sanctuary where they’ll finally receive the care they need.” The elders contend that the following violations occur at the Cherokee Bear Zoo: • The pits that the bears are kept in range in size from about 300 to 1,300 square feet — a tiny fraction of the size of a bear’s normal range in the wild. • The pits deny the bears opportunities to forage, hibernate, nest, and satisfy their most basic needs. Instead, they are forced to beg for food from tourists. • Because of their inadequate environment, the bears exhibit signs of severe psychological distress, including incessant pacing and circling. • The zoo has housed grizzly cubs in bird cages, as well as the concrete pits, and used the young animals for photo shoots. Once they are deemed to be too large for photo shoots, they are sold or otherwise disposed of. Earlier this year, the 11 bears who had been held in similar conditions at Chief Saunooke Bear Park were taken to an animal sanctuary in Texas, where they have trees to climb, ponds to swim in, and fresh, nutritious food to eat.
Christmas comes early in the Valley Massive giveaway helps hundreds of Haywood families
a Christmas charity event in Tennessee began to unravel. He was staying at Smoky View Cottages, owned by Terri Crider, who knew Strickland from his previous bike trips to the valley. Crider happened to be nearby when Strickland fielded a phone call from the local liaison for the Tennessee charity event. He got BY B ECKY JOHNSON off the phone shaking his head, and Crider STAFF WRITER asked what was wrong. he mother lode of charity operations was “I was standing in the right place at the less than 24 hours away, and the dauntright time. I said, ‘Why not do it in Maggie? ing punch list should have had Johnny We got a lot of poor people here, we got a lot Strickland sweating bullets. of needy people here,’” Crider recalled. “He He’d rolled into Maggie Valley with three said ‘Could you get me 1,000 needy people?’ tractor-trailer loads of merchandise — with and I said, ‘Sure.’” an estimated value of $350,000 — to pass out Strickland called Miller and to hundreds of needy families in pitched the venue change. Haywood County. The unparalleled “I said, ‘Pray about this. Let’s do Christmas giveaway had been a toy and food giveaway in months in the making, but now Maggie,’” Strickland said. game time was here. They instantly decided to do Towering pallets of unopened “Christmas in the Valley,” a name boxes, column after column of them, that ended up sticking. were queued up waiting to be Crider corralled a team to lay the unpacked, sorted and sifted groundwork locally for such a massive through. A din of voices ricocheted gift-giving operation. They would across rows of tables as volunteers need dozens of volunteers, a staging wrestled the colossal mountain of and pick-up site, and a way to get the toys and clothes into submission. word out to those most in need. “Where’s the size 7 boys?” The town of Maggie Valley “Is there a table for movies yet?” offered the use of the Maggie Valley “Will they be able to get through Community Pavilion. The down here?” Mechanized Cavalry of the Sons of Space was already at a premium Volunteers sort and organize a mountain of toys and clothes in the Confederate Veterans — a netinside the Maggie Valley Pavilion, preparation for the Christmas in the Valley charity giveaway for work of biker friends Strickland the staging site for the charity needy families in Haywood County. belonged to — provided a stable of event. The stream of boxes coming volunteers for the staging and setoff the trucks bulged out of the Miller, who lives in Mississippi, owns a up, along with local veterans’ groups, churchentry bays, overflowing into tents as quickly as the volunteers could erect them in the company that makes protective clothing for es, schoolteachers, and others. the medical and dental industries. As for alerting needy families? steady drizzle. Strickland is retired, twice — once from The school system, along with the departBut Strickland, with coffee in hand, calmly cruised the chaos, unrattled by the count- Coca-Cola and once as a pastor — and now ment of social services, partnered to identify devotes his life to his non-profit charity, families and send invitations home in kids’ down to his charity giveaway. book bags. “I do this year-round,” said Strickland, Network of Promise. “The Lord has been good to me. I’ve made The event went off successfully, with more who lives in Florida. “We come into town and than 800 families leaving with boxes of food, we don’t ask for a penny. We do it because the all the money I need,” Strickland said. The windfall of goodwill landed on the blankets, clothes and Christmas gifts during Lord has told us to do it.” Strickland and his friend and fellow char- doorstep of Haywood County thanks to a Saturday’s event. “If you can imagine the parents’ joy and ity organizer, Ron Miller, have been called by serendipitous twist of fate. Strickland was on a motorcycle trip to the child’s joy, it makes it all worth it,” Miller the Bible’s teachings of generosity. “’I was hungry and you fed me … I was naked Maggie Valley in August when his plans to do said. “It is unbelievable.”
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and you clothed me,’” Miller said, quoting the Gospel of Matthew. “It is my core value to minister to others like Jesus ministered to us.” But their 21st-century version of biblical altruism comes in the form of big rigs bearing shipments of Star Wars toys and Disney DVDs. So where did it all come from? “It’s hard for us to explain how we procure it all,” Strickland said. The simple version is Strickland and Miller get corporations to donate their leftover and over-stocked merchandise, amassing it bit by bit over the course of the year. “In the corporate world, you just get to know the right people to make it happen,” Strickland said.
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Elijah is taken away by a chariot of fire that rises out of the river Jordan, and his disciple Elisha asked Elijah to leave a “double portion of your spirit.” “The mantle is passed on and it is in your hands,” Abrahams said. “People like Madiba do not die, rather they continue to live in people’s heart.” The Methodist Church of Southern Africa, which Abrahams led, is a transna-
More To read a story on the life of Bishop Ivan Abrahams and his life in South Africa during apartheid, visit www.smokymountain news.com/archives/item/10025.
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ishop Ivan Abrahams, the South African general secretary of the World Methodist Council who lives at Lake Junaluska, gave the sermon at the funeral of Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg. Mandela was the leader of post-apartheid South Africa who led the country down a peaceful path after the movement he led helped bring an end to the white-led government and decades of minority rule. Abrahams was the bishop of the Methodist Church of South Africa when he was chosen to lead the World Methodist Council two years ago, the first person of color to hold that position. On the podium with world leaders who gathered for the event, Abrahams called Mandela a “true patriot” who “transformed our nation and changed the world.”
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• From US 23/74 take exit 100 tional church covering six countries spanning the southern portion of the continent. Abrahams was appointed presiding bishop in 2003. Mandela was a member of the church. He was appointed general secretary of the World Methodist Council in 2011.
Fund for Haywood gives $40,000 in grants
Community Foundation’s People in Need focus area grant cycle, and were funded in part by the Janirve Legacy Fund, CFWNC Fundholders and The Fund for Haywood County. The Fund for Haywood County, an affiliate of The Community Foundation, was established in 1994 by a group of local residents as a permanent endowment and resource for charitable efforts that benefit the entire county. To make a tax-deductible contribution to The Fund for Haywood County, donate online at www.cfwnc.org, with a stock gift, or by mail to The Fund for Haywood County, P.O. Box 627, Waynesville, N.C., 28786. Contributions of any size are welcome and will enable the Fund to support more programs with local dollars. “We are pleased to join with CFWNC and other partners to fund these grants that will make such a difference for the nonprofit organizations and the people they serve in our community,” said The Fund for Haywood County Advisory Board Chair George Ivey.
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Mandela was, he said, a “colossus amongst world leaders, a friend to all and an enemy to none.” Later in the sermon, Abrahams recalled the story of Elijah, the prophet recognized by Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths.
December 11-17, 2013
Rev. Ivan Abrahams, the general secretary of the World Methodist Council, shown on worldwide television speaking at the funeral of Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Fund for Haywood County has approved $40,000 in People in Need grants to local nonprofit organizations that provide critical services for economically disadvantaged people. The grants were made in partnership with The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC) and include: • A $20,000 grant to Aspire, Youth and Family Inc. for the Kids at Work! program. This grant matches funds received from the State to train at-risk children in cooking-based workplace and life skills. • A $20,000 grant to the Thirtieth Judicial District Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Alliance to enable the Alliance to continue its Rural Response Team for Underserved Child Victims Exposed to Violence program. These grants were awarded as part of The
Abrahams gives sermon at Mandela funeral
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Cullowhee businesses reflect on past, look ahead after WCU fire BY GARRET K. WOODWARD STAFF WRITER ark clouds hung above Cullowhee last Friday morning. And as the rain fell on the mountain community, tears slid down the face of Suzanne Stone. “I’m numb,” she said. “I rotate between crying and disbelief. It’s like losing your home.” Stone’s small, independent business, Rolling Stone Burrito, burned on Nov. 21 in a fire that has been ruled “electrical in nature.” Mad Batter Bakery & Café and Subway were also casualties in the early morning blaze that consumed the small strip mall complex on the campus of Western Carolina University. “It was a second home for me and my employees,” Stone said. “It was like that for a lot of people. It wasn’t just a restaurant, it was home to people, and now it’s just a horrible loss.” Stone sat with her friend Jeannette Evans, owner of the Mad Batter, at The Point coffeehouse adjacent to the campus. The duo became neighbors when Rolling Stone moved into the location five and a half years ago. Mad Batter itself had occupied the property for more than 15 years. “Mad Batter was my life,” Evans said. “It was a vocation; I dedicated my life to it. It was fun and engaging, something new and different every day. This will be a long process after the fire. We’re working on it, and looking at our options.”
December 11-17, 2013
EARLY MORNING CHAOS
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It was a normal morning on the WCU campus. Stone had stopped into her business to get ready for the day, then headed over to the Mad Batter for her usual conversation and coffee with Evans. At around 8:45 a.m., Evans was working in the back kitchen with one of her employees. She noticed a small amount of smoke and the smell of something burning. “The smell got undeniable,” she said. “We went around and turned off all of the ovens. Then it appeared the intake hood was bringing in smoke from outside.” The smoke began billowing more into kitchen and up into the dining area. Evans told her customers to get out of the building, that there might be a fire, and called the facilities department. While she did this, Stone ran over to check on her business. “I opened the door to this white, wispy fog inside,” Stone said. “I didn’t notice anything when I was in there earlier. After we saw the smoke, the Subway manager called 911.” Soon, numerous fire departments converged on the scene from as far away as Canton. Vicious flames shot out of upstairs windows, while a cloud of smoke rose above the campus. Within hours, the structure was 8 a smoldering, burnt-out shell.
On Nov. 21, an electrical fire occurred at a strip mall on the Western Carolina University campus. The blaze destroyed Rolling Stone Burrito, Mad Batter Bakery and Café, and Subway. Mark Haskett photo for WCU
“Jeannette and I stood there and held each other,” Stone said. “We were just in total shock.” In the following days the building was boarded up and the investigation began for legal and insurance purposes. But the only thought on Stone’s and Evans’ minds was for their employees, now jobless and heading into the holiday season. “Our employees used their paychecks to go to school, to pay their rent, to go out,” Stone said. “My employees are like family to me, and they’ve been with me for a long time.” “I’ve had some real long-term employees, too, many with me over a year, with one having worked for me nine years,” Evans added. “Yes, we have renter’s insurance for the business, which kind of helps us out, but our employees lost everything.” Both businesses had renter’s insurance. At the time of the fire, Rolling Stone employed seven students, while another eight worked at the Mad Batter and 15 at Subway. Fundraising efforts are currently underway at several Jackson County businesses and WCU to assist the students and local residents who are now without a job. “Our emphasis is to get our employees through the holidays,” Stone said.
SOCIAL CENTERPIECE For the tightly-knit community of Cullowhee and WCU, Rolling Stone and the Mad Batter had become a gathering spot for meetings, celebrations or just for the heck of it. Offering local, organic food and beverages, the locations were a safe haven for finals week or if students just wanted to take a break from the day and relax in a welcoming space.
“Yes, we have renter’s insurance for the business, which kind of helps us out, but our employees lost everything.” — Jeannette Evans, Mad Batter Bakery & Café
Want to help? There are numerous fundraising efforts currently under way in Jackson County to assist all of the employees of the WCU strip mall fire who are currently out of work and without a paycheck heading into the holidays. The events are as follows: • Soul Infusion Tea House and Bistro will offer free meals to employees of the businesses lost in the fire. On Dec. 14 and 21, the bistro will also donate 15 to 20 percent of its sales to those employees. • The Cullowhee Methodist Church is currently accepting donations. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. • Jack the Dipper ice cream shop will assist by donating 10 percent on Dec. 14 and 21. • Signature Brew Coffee will donate $1 from each bag of coffee bought. For more information on how to help, you can contact Rolling Stone Burrito or Mad Batter Bakery & Café on Facebook.
“They were by far the best places to have lunch on campus,” said junior Amanda Mauro, a forensic anthropology and psychology major. “The atmosphere was relaxed, with great music and awesome food.” Mauro also pointed out the importance of having independent establishments within the confines of the university. “Small business is an essential aspect to our campus. It brings a sense of community,” she said. “When a community supports a local, small business, it’s essentially supporting a certain way of life that differs from corporate America.” Supporting small businesses on campus is a priority for the Cullowhee Revitalization Endeavor, or CuRvE. The organization describes its mission to “facilitate the beautification and revitalization of the downtown Cullowhee area extending along Old Cullowhee Road and leading up to the former main entrance to the campus of Western Carolina University.” “The Mad Batter and Rolling Stone Burrito were more than mere food and drink establishments,” said Mary Jean Ronan Herzog, a founding member of CuRvE. “They were part of the community, not apart from the community. They were meeting places. You could refresh body and spirit by getting out of class, heading over and say hello to colleagues, students and friends from the community, hear local gossip, catch up with friends, or meet your next appointment.” A professor of education at WCU, Herzog is chair of the faculty senate. She currently serves as the chair of CuRvE’s steering committee. A 25-year resident and educator in Cullowhee, she remembered when the strip mall was the Towne House, a beloved dining establishment at the school from the late 1940s to mid-1980s. Herzog’s twin daughters worked at the Mad Batter when they were in high school. “Jeannette was their first boss and they learned a lot about hard work and initiative from her,” Herzog said. “She started her business in a tiny section of the old Towne House, and over the years she grew it to a full-service restaurant that would be competitive with the best of them in Asheville — and I would say the same thing for Rolling Stone Burrito.”
THE MASTER PLAN While investigators and WCU officials piece together the timeline of the blaze, determine insurance payouts and figure out what to do with the property, the notion of the school’s Master Plan has come into the spotlight. (See accompanying story) The Master Plan — officially adopted by trustees just last week — calls eventually for a multi-story, mixed-use facility on the property where the fire occurred. According to WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher, that project would be at least a few years down the road. “If we follow this plan, there would have come a moment to make a decision to build a new facility,” Belcher said. “The concept that currently exists would be a bottom floor with retail, several floors tall with apartments.” Both Stone and Evans were aware of the Master Plan. They knew the current building would probably have to come down at some
Above: the boarded up WCU strip mall following the fire. Below: Suzanne Stone (left), owner of Rolling Stone Burrito, with Jeanette Evans, owner of Mad Batter Bakery and Café. Garret K.
WHERE TO NOW? By last Friday afternoon the smell of smoke still wafted from the structure. Every window was covered with plywood, while charred signs lay in empty parking spots blocked off by a row of Jersey barriers. “Today we took down the signs, signs we painted in our garage, signs we cut and designed the logo for,” Stone said. “Taking
S EE FIRE, PAGE 10
facility and enhanced stands and a new press box on the west side of E.J. Whitmire Stadium. • A possible mixed-use facility featuring dining and retail space on the ground floor and residential space on upper levels. During an afternoon of open discussions and committee meetings on Thursday (Dec. 5) prior to the board meeting, some members of the board asked what impact a Nov. 21 fire that damaged three businesses in the commercial strip in the center of campus might have on projects proposed in the Master Plan. University officials say they are unable to speculate on the future of the site at this point. The university received a report late last week from the State Construction Office on the structural integrity of the building, and are awaiting a cost estimate for repair or replacement of the building from architects hired by the university, as required by the N.C. Department of Insurance. Additional information about WCU’s master planning process can be found at the website masterplanning.wcu.edu. Additional information and updates about the fire can be found at the website fire.wcu.edu. 9
Smoky Mountain News
ever be the same?’ The fire reminded me how important sense of place is to us.” Important though these businesses are, their fate will not be decided quickly. Belcher noted that when a tree branch crashed into the old Jenkins House, the university’s club for faculty and staff, the building remained dormant for more than a year before the insurance payouts came through. “If we built a new facility, and they (the burned-out businesses) were part of the picture, everyone would be excited for that,” he said. “But we have so little to go on right now because we don’t have the information from the state agencies.” Herzog believes the school wants to support the restaurant owners. “I think the WCU administration, starting with Chancellor Belcher, is sincerely interested in the business owners and employees, and collectively, I have the sense that they value the three independent businesses that were burned in the fire,” she said. “I think they will do what they can to help remedy the situation.”
The plan is based on enrollment projections that anticipate more than 11,000 students studying on the campus in Cullowhee by the year 2023, and the need for approximately 486,000 gross square feet of additional interior space to accommodate the needs of those students.
December 11-17, 2013
point. But there was also a clause in their lease that stated they had “first right of refusal,” which meant that if a new facility were constructed on the property, Rolling Stone and the Mad Batter would have the option to move into it. “We had that ‘first right of refusal,’ but now we don’t because we don’t have a lease any more,” Stone said. “If a new developer comes in, we don’t have a place.” Stone said she couldn’t compete for a new spot in that possible new building. Her budget for rent wouldn’t be able to match that of a national chain. “If something like a Taco Bell came in and was able to pay a certain rent, I couldn’t,” she said. “And I realize the developer is there to make money, and that’s their job, there’s no fault against that, but my chances to get a space in a new building are pretty remote.” Belcher is aware of this concern about losing local businesses with deep ties to the institution. Like the restaurant owners, the school doesn’t have all the answers, and won’t for some time. “It was great to have outlets like that (Rolling Stone/Mad Batter/Subway) because Cullowhee is a relatively small place, and they were a gathering place for our community,” he said. “It’s frustrating for everyone involved and it’s really out of our control until we know more.” A loyal customer of both Rolling Stone and the Mad Batter, WCU Professor Maurice Phipps, also a CuRvE member, is concerned about making sure there is room for small, independent businesses in the Master Plan. Midtown Cullowhee, where these firestricken buildings lie, needs independent businesses, he said. “Downtown Cullowhee, also marred by boarded up buildings, is starting to develop new businesses, but it has a long way to go.” Another CuRvE member and dean of the WCU Honors College, Brian Railsback, expressed similar sentiments. “The small, independent businesses, like the Mad Batter and Rolling Stone, help distinguish our community and give us a sense of what it means to be Cullowhee,” he said. “I ran into one resident who has lived here for at least 40 years and he asked, ‘Will Cullowhee
A new campus Master Plan endorsed Friday (Dec. 6) by the Western Carolina University Board of Trustees is designed to closely link physical facilities of the university, including future construction and renovation, to goals of its recently approved strategic plan. The Master Plan is meant to provide “a flexible framework for growth,” said Keith Storms of Hanbury, Evans, Wright and Vlattas, a firm specializing in campus design and planning. The plan is based on enrollment projections that anticipate more than 11,000 students studying on the campus in Cullowhee by the year 2023, and the need for approximately 486,000 gross square feet of additional interior space to accommodate the needs of those students. Currently, about 7,800 students out of WCU’s total enrollment of 10,107 live and study in Cullowhee. Approval of the plan, which was drafted with the guidance of a 16-member task force, comes after a 17-month process that included numerous public forums designed to collect input and feedback from university students, faculty and staff and from residents of surrounding communities. During that process, the task force and the master plan consultants presented numerous options for land use and future development. Feedback from the campus and community led to a preferred land use plan that focuses on reinforcement of the existing academic core of campus, reconnects that core to the historic hill area of WCU and seeks opportunities for strategic development around the new Health and Human Sciences Building on the university’s West Campus. In presenting the Master Plan to the board for its consideration, Chancellor David O. Belcher called it “a living document, one that is not set in stone but will be a guide to us as we go forward.” Highlights of the plan, which attempts to take advantage of natural synergies among academic programs without creating “academic silos,” include: • Construction of a new science building of approximately 130,000 square feet that would replace the existing Natural Sciences Building and create a “science quad” by incorporating renovations to the existing Stillwell Building. • Construction of a new building for the College of Business and additions to the existing Forsyth Building, which is home to most business programs. • Consolidation of programs in the College of Fine and Performing Arts to new and existing space near the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center. • Enhancing pedestrian connectivity across campus, especially between the academic center of campus and the historic area. The plan envisions a signature building located between the upper and lower areas of campus that would house existing
programs in student engagement and related activities. • Additional revitalization of the historic hill area of campus, including improvements in transportation flow and new residence hall and dining space for 300 additional students. • Creation of a new main entrance to campus on N.C. 107 that links the traditional campus with the newer West Campus, with a new visitor center and enhanced public parking for visitors attending fine arts, athletics and entertainment events at the Bardo Arts Center, Ramsey Regional Activity Center and athletics fields. • Phased development of two buildings for private/public partnerships adjacent to the Health and Human Sciences Building on the West Campus while reserving steeply sloped land as an environmental preserve. • Enhancing views of and recreational opportunities along Cullowhee Creek as it flows through campus by removing invasive vegetation, and using existing green space in the floodplain of the creek for recreation and athletics fields. • Improvements to athletics facilities including a new field house, indoor practice
WCU campus Master Plan wins approval of Board of Trustees
those signs down was almost like admitting it’s not going to be there. It’s a true loss, deep within my heart.” Exiting the building, a WCU facilities worker scanned the property. He shook his head. “It’s a mess in there.” Joni Newell, co-owner at the Cullowhee River Club next door, stood nearby. She looked up at the structure. “It’s very sad. We miss seeing our friends every day,” she said quietly. “It’s been nice to have a sense of community with the other businesses. We all know each other and all help each other. We hope they can come back.” Plastered across one of the boards, facing the campus, was a large banner that read, “Whee Love You.” “That’s sweet, and that’s just another example of how beautiful and wonderful this community has been to us,” Evans said, referring to the banner. “People appreciated the organic nature of our locally owned businesses and their unique character.” WCU and the Student Government Association are planning a fundraiser in January for those affected by the blaze. “The businesses that were lost meant a lot to the university and to the student body,” said SGA president Ryan Hermance. “They have been there since I have been a student, and have been there for many alumni who have come and gone before me. The fire was very devastating and the university and the SGA are working together to help those directly affected.”
Evans said she would rescue her equipment and relocate the Mad Batter somewhere in Cullowhee. She has recently applied for unemployment, and said she has learned how difficult it can be for people in dire financial situations. “I think about those families being laid off, and I can relate to the hardships many North Carolina families are currently facing,” she said. Stone is still unsure of the next chapter for Rolling Stone, but for now she’ll continue to sell their signature hot sauce (untouched in the fire) and return to her former occupation, mental health counseling. “Jeannette and I, we’re going to take different routes probably from here. We’ll probably never be side by side again, but the bond is still there,” Stone said. “Even if we could get back into that property, it could be years down the road.” Stone and Evans said they wanted to thank everyone in the community: the fire responders, the WCU administrators, their former and current employees and loyal customers for their support throughout the years and during this difficult time. The fire may have burned down the building, but the cherished memories remain. “I had a blast running Rolling Stone Burrito,” Stone said, tearing up. “We’re so proud of it and it has been an amazing experience.” “This community is so amazing, and we’re appreciative for all of the support,” Evans added. “Keep supporting us and look out for what happens next.”
Ghost Town cited for safety violations after gunslinger injury Ghost Town in the Sky has been cited for safety violations by the North Carolina Department of Labor stemming from an injury during one of the amusement park’s theatrical gun fights. The gun fights are a signature attraction at the Maggie Valley theme park, staged several times a day on a mock-up street of an Old West town at the center of the park. The gunslingers use blanks, but somehow, veteran gunfighter Robert Bradley was hit by a projectile from a gun during a show in July. The citation was issued this week following a several month investigation. It carries a fine of $2,000 and demands abatements. The Maggie Valley amusement park was given 15 days to respond to the citation. “They have 15 days to pay the fine, contest the citation or request an informal conference,” said Dolores Quesenberry, communications director at the Department of Labor. The owner of the park, Alaska Presley, told The Smoky Mountain News that she had already requested a conference with the department. “The citation is not permanent yet,” she said. The citation states that the business was in violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act by not furnishing to employees a
place of employment “free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm.” The citation specifically cited Ghost Town in the Sky for two hazards: the use of revolvers and shotguns capable of firing live ammunition, and the fact that triggers had been removed from the revolvers used in the mock gunfights. The citation recommended that the firearms used in mock gunfights be replaced or modified so that only blanks could be fired, and that revolvers have trig-
“The citation is not permanent yet.” — Alaska Presley, Ghost Town in the Sky owner
gers installed. Up to now, the firearms used in the gun fights at Ghost Town could be shot simply by pulling and releasing the hammer. Bradley, a longtime Ghost Town gunsligher who went by the stage name “Apache Kid,” has not worked at the park since his injury. Bradley is suing Ghost Town to retrieve some of the memorabilia at the park that he claims belongs to him. Bradley also says the shooting wasn’t an accident, and believes someone tampered with the gun that shot him. Maggie Valley police said last month the investigation into the incident is ongoing.
December 11-17, 2013
FIRE, CONTINUED FROM 9
Smoky Mountain News
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December 11-17, 2013
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Smoky Mountain News
BY B ECKY JOHNSON STAFF WRITER t just 28 years old, Derek Roland might be the youngest county manager Macon County has ever seen, but what he lacks in age he makes up for in passion, enthusiasm, charisma, diplomacy, confidence and smarts — all the attributes of a natural leader. Those qualities ultimately tipped the scale for Macon County commissioners when they named Roland as the county’s new manager last month. “He absolutely looked everyone square in the eye and said ‘I know I am young, but I have the degree I need and the training for this job and I can do this job,’” Macon Commission Chairman Kevin Corbin said. “That gave him a leg up.” But the real leg up for Roland was likely his Macon County lineage going back several generations. “He knows the culture of Macon County. He knows the needs of Macon County. He has a feel for the pulse of Macon County. That offsets any shortcomings on the experience side,” Commissioner Paul Higdon said. Roland, who previously served as the Macon County planner, said nothing is more important to him than seeing Macon County prosper and he won’t let the community down. “Everybody is scared to fail to some degree. But if I fail in this position it is not like I failed as county manager on the coast somewhere or in another state. I can’t just go back home,” Roland said. “If I fail in this position, I fail the people who have helped make me into the person I am today. My family, my coaches, my teachers — it would be letting them down, and that is something I will not do,” he said. Commissioners said they are confident Roland will rise to the occasion. “He is a quick study. There is no challenge he has ever failed on,” said Higdon. “I am excited we have a young guy in there that has a passion for Macon County and a passion for performance and a fresh outlook.” Roland’s first day on the job is Monday, Dec. 16. His starting salary is $100,000. That’s $35,000 less than the salary of former Macon County Manager Jack Horton, who retired this year after a 30-year career as a manager for several counties. Higdon said being able to save a little money for taxpayers on the county manager salary was a plus in Roland’s corner. The county got 38 applications for the job. Commissioners narrowed the field down to four whom they invited for interviews. Roland wasn’t necessarily everyone’s top pick at the outset. But he was the only candidate in the end that all the commissioners were able to support unanimously. And that
Macon goes local in picking new manager
Roland isn’t exactly a stranger to Macon County government, having served as county planner from 2009 to 2012. Despite protracted and polarized debate over steep-slope development regulations during that time, he emerged unscathed. As a neutral facilitator in the process, he provided the data, the research, the PowerPoint presentations, the pros and cons of various options — but didn’t try to pull the strings. Roland said that’s how he sees his role as a county manager as well. “A manager’s place is to work at the direction of the commissioners. The commissioners have been elected by the people of this county,” Roland said. “I have no personal agenda coming into this job.” Roland said he will lead the county as efficiently and effectively as possible down the path commissioners lay out. After three years with the county, Roland took a new job as Franklin’s town planner in early 2012. He also went back to school to get his masters in Public Policy Administration from Derek Roland will begin his new job as Western Carolina University, Macon County manager next week. Becky Johnson photo complementing his undergrad degree from WCU in was important to them. business administration. “If you split your vote on the county Serving as Macon County’s manager is manager it says, ‘Well, you have some people Roland’s ultimate career goal, not just a stepwho didn’t really want you here to start ping stone. While he’s reached that goal with,’” Corbin said. early, he doesn’t plan on going anywhere. He Roland told commissioners in his interbuilt a house on his grandfather’s land and view that he was willing to take the job with- hopes to stay here forever. out the protection of an employment con“The things we do in Macon County will tract. That is rare for a county manager, who affect generations that follow,” Roland said. can be vulnerable to the shifting political He’s now got to prove himself, but has winds of local politics and election cycles. plenty of fans pulling for him. But Roland told commissioners he was “Derek feels a lot of pressure to do a good willing to let his performance speak for itself. job, probably more pressure than if he “He said, ‘Anytime it is not satisfactory, wasn’t from here,” Corbin said. I’ll go down the road,’” Higdon said. “He is a quick study. There is no Commissioners said county staff are supportive challenge he has ever failed on. I am of the selection and willing excited we have a young guy in there to show Roland the ropes in areas that are new to that has a passion for Macon County him — like managing the county’s $46 million annuand a passion for performance and a al budget or dealing with fresh outlook.” human resources issues across a staff of 364. — Macon Commissioner Paul Higdon “We have some of the most experienced and wellqualified department heads around. They By hiring Roland, commissioners were want to see Derek succeed, and I think they able to take a stand against the ongoing chalwill tell you that,” Commissioner Ronnie lenge of “brain drain,” Beale said. Losing the Beale said. “He has the willingness to learn best and brightest young people is an oftenand be a quick study.” discussed dilemma in local economic develRoland said he will definitely lean on opment circles. department heads during his learning curve. “Hiring somebody local for this job is the “They are very sharp and very capable,” best thing in the world,” Beale said. “Derek Roland said. Roland has a real heart for this county.”
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Matheson wins election but says no to mayor’s job BY S USANNA RODELL positions available in his office. After MANAGING E DITOR Bonfoey informed her that no positions were meeting of the Sylva Town Board took available, she decided to run for mayor. an unexpected turn last week when Matheson won the mayoral race in mayor-elect Christina Matheson November. But within days, Bonfoey conannounced that she would not be able to tacted her to let her know that an assistant accept the office. The board then appointed district attorney position in his office had outgoing Mayor Maurice Moody to continue become available. “At that point it became in office until the next municipal election. obvious that if I were offered the position, Danny Allen, who was narrowly defeated there would be a conflict,” Matheson told for a seat on the town board in November, The Smoky Mountain News. “Much as I was appointed to fill the seat left vacant by would like to do both [jobs], I couldn’t.” Matheson, who also Matheson said resigned from the she wrestled with the “I could have been sworn town board. decision. She still has Moody’s and not been formally in today only to resign Allen’s will be the offered the ADA job, when my employment fourth and fifth though she has been appointments to the assured this will hapbecame final. I don’t feel board in four years. pen. In her stateFour of the six curthat is in the best interests ment to the town rent board members board, she said, “I of the town.” are there by could have been appointment. sworn in today only — Christina Matheson Matheson delivto resign when my ered a prepared employment became statement in which she explained that she final. I don’t feel that is in the best interests was expecting a job offer that would make of the town.” her ineligible to hold the office of mayor. “In the two or three weeks it would take As Matheson explained it, she had begun to offer the job, it would have been a negaexploring job options early last summer and tive for the town if I’d been sworn in as had contacted District Attorney Mike mayor,” Matheson said. “No one would have Bonfoey to inquire whether there were any been in a position to function as mayor. The
mayor said he would remain in the position, so it was a natural move. It allowed for integrity, consistency and leadership from the top. I knew he would be there, that he would continue to guide the board and they would move forward.” Matheson cited several factors in her decision to choose the job in Bonfoey’s office over the mayoral job. One factor was her desire to follow in the footsteps of her father, Marcellus Buchanan, who was Jackson County’s elected solicitor (now district attorney) for more than 20 years. Another factor was economic. “I so wanted to serve as mayor,” she said. “When God opens two windows for you, you can’t go through both of them. And the posi-
tion as ADA is a paid position with benefits.” Moody, who had already cleared out his office, has agreed to stay on for two more years. “It came as somewhat of a surprise,” he said. “I had already taken my pictures home and everything.” “I was not anticipating this, but it’s really an honor for fellow board members to ask you to stay on,” he said. “It makes you think you must have been doing something right.” In the end, he said, “I have enjoyed my years on the Sylva board, so it was a fairly easy decision to make. I decided it would be the easiest transition if Chris was not going to be able to take the position.” Moody said he does not intend to run for office again.
Smoky Mountain News
December 11-17, 2013
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“Students could come in and express their concerns and get answers from police and legal counsel,” he said. “Since I’ve been involved with SGA, I’ve heard concern from students not feeling safe on campus,” he went on to say. “By and large we have a very safe campus, but there’s a feeling, due to some dimly lit areas, or people coming from backgrounds that are not so safe, like Charlotte, where there’s a higher crime rate than in Jackson County.” Hermance said the forum reached 100 to 200 students. “We had way more attendance at that forum than any of tuition and fees forums. It was one of the highest attendances we’ve had at any forum.”
The SGA resolution cited several provisions of the voting rights bill: the elimination of student ID cards as an acceptable form of identification for voting; the elimination of same-day voter registration; and the shortening of the period for early voting. The WCU board also approved tuition and fees for the 2014-15 academic year, which included no increase in tuition for in-state students. Fees will increase by 1.85 percent. For undergraduates, with some fees eliminated and others raised slightly, the increase would come to $52 per year. The board approved an increase of $18 per year in the health services fee and $42 per year in the student activity fee. There will be no increases in the athletics or education and technology fees. Out-of-state students will face a legislatively mandated 6 percent increase in tuition.
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KIDS Place is focus of Dec. 12 program The Macon County League of Women Voters will host a program about KIDS Place at noon on Dec. 12 in Tartan Hall of the First Presbyterian Church in Franklin. Alisa Ashe, director of KIDS Place, will speak. KIDS Place is a private, nonprofit, nationally accredited children’s advocacy center that provides services for
Building was a complete renovation and space was first built out for Edward Jones office in 2005. Space was occupied by Haywood Co. Insurance Health Clinic and is in excellent condition. Unit includes 2 restrooms, kitchenette and mechanical room. There is direct access to an outdoor covered patio area on the creek. The building has excellent onsite parking and is located in Waynesville only 3/10 mile North of the courthouse. Lease includes exterior maintenance, taxes, water and lighted sign.
Smoky Mountain News
Class A Office/Professional space, 1850 sq. ft. abused children and their caregivers. KIDS Place has been serving the community for 22 years. The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan, national organization with a focus on citizen participation in government and community. Monthly information meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month at noon at Tartan Hall. Attendees are encouraged to bring a bag lunch. The public is always invited and welcome.
December 11-17, 2013
BY S USANNA RODELL MANAGING E DITOR aculty and student representatives at Western Carolina University expressed concern last week over recent legislative actions in Raleigh. At the Dec. 6 meeting of the university’s Board of Trustees, Student Government Association President Ryan Hermance reported that a resolution at the SGA Senate’s October meeting had expressed disappointment with House Bill 589, which restricted voting rights in several ways and made it more difficult for students to exercise their right to vote. The resolution passed unanimously, with 30 voting in favor and none against, Hermance said. And Mary Jean Ronan Herzog, Chair of the Faculty Senate, expressed concern over faculty retention in the absence of salary raises in recent years, due to cuts in funding for higher education. “I personally know of six faculty members who are searching for jobs right now in other states,” Herzog said. The SGA resolution cited several provisions of the voting rights bill: the elimination of student ID cards as an acceptable form of identification for voting; the elimination of same-day voter registration; and the shortening of the period for early voting. “[T]he Senate holds that open and easilyaccessible elections are vital to the welfare of college students in a representative democracy,” the resolution stated. It went on to assert that all three provisions caused unnecessary inconvenience to students attempting to exercise their voting rights. “[T]he SGA Senate of Western Carolina University expresses disappointment with regard to changes in North Carolina voting laws which will adversely affect student voting, and urges the North Carolina General Assembly to reconsider the current structure of said laws,” the resolution stated. Hermance also reported that the SGA held a forum before Thanksgiving on safety on the campus, in light of recent legislation allowing concealed weapons to be carried on college campuses.
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Jailer’s love saga comes full circle BY B ECKY JOHNSON STAFF WRITER ho knows what Anita Vestal saw in Jeffrey Miles, or why she sprang him from jail and ran away with him, or how she justified leaving her husband and four young children behind, possibly forever. He was a young, lanky black man from urban Atlanta with a gangster swagger, accused of a ruthless double murder. She was a heavy-set Cherokee woman who had lived her whole life in rural Appalachia, came from a good family and had four kids under the age of ten. Their lives should never have collided. But a tragic and bizarre series of events landed Miles in a jail where Vestal worked. Miles’ money had run out during a drug binge and party spree at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, and he went on the prowl for a house to rob. A violent home invasion ended in bloody execution-style murders, with Miles behind the trigger. But that didn’t matter to Vestal when they peeled out of the Swain jail in her minivan the day of the carefully-planned escape. Vestal had slipped Miles the jail keys, taken over the jail’s control booth to ensure no one else saw him slip away on camera, and then ducked out herself. Miles stripped off his striped orange jumpsuit and Vestal ditched her uniform and badge. They stuffed them under the back seats, changed into a waiting set of street clothes, stashed in the van by Vestal ahead of time, and headed west. “Why did she do this? I can’t give you a good reason why. People do things all the time that don’t make any sense,” Assistant District Attorney Ashley Welch told jurors in Vestal’s court trial last week. “She just wanted to be with him.” Indeed, what Vestal did defied all logic, her attorney, Chris Siewers, admitted to jurors. “For some reason she fell from the sky. Jeffrey Miles charmed her somehow,” Siewers said. “You can go back and debate for hours about why that happened but in the end it doesn’t really matter. You have all been in love at some point in your life. You haven’t done something like let Jeffrey Miles out of jail. But you have been in love.” As for Miles, no one knows whether he saw Vestal as more than just his ticket out of jail. During the manhunt following his escape, detectives and cops quietly surmised that Vestal was surely dead in a ditch somewhere, left to die once she’d served her purpose. Vestal’s distraught family even searched back roads and overlooks for signs of her dumped body. But three weeks later, the two were found — still together. They made it to California, where Miles had friends, and had hunkered down in a motel room. Vestal’s truck was spotted by local cops, who were tipped to the possibility Miles might turn up there. Last week, Vestal was sentenced to three years in prison for the jailbreak that she plot14 ted and executed on Miles’ behalf back in
Smoky Mountain News
December 11-17, 2013
Anita Vestal leaves the courthouse after her trial. She will serve three years for helping murderer Jeffrey Miles escape from jail. Becky Johnson photo March 2009. Prosecutors had tried to pin Vestal with charges of accessory after the fact to first-degree murders, but jurors found her innocent on those counts (see related story). “Despite the fact she made a terrible, terrible mistake, she is not a bad person. She had never been in any kind of trouble before that point,” said Vestal’s father, Ronnie Blythe. She was lucky to be out on bail while waiting trial — with a bond of just $125,000. “She was never considered dangerous or a threat in any way. What she did was an affair of the heart. As stupid as it may have been, I think that is pretty much what motivated it,” Blythe said. “The court never saw her as a threat, or even a threat to try to run. She said from the beginning, ‘I did it. I don’t know why. I am sorry.’ ” Vestal was 32 when she first set eyes on Miles in his jail cell. She’s now 37. Her kids, now 9 to 14, were living with her until last week, when she was escorted away in handcuffs to start serving her brief sentence. The past four years awaiting trial have been bittersweet for Vestal. ““I just tried to live life, but I knew this was coming,” Vestal said during a court recess last week, talking about her inevitable prison
time once the trial concluded. “I’ve come to terms with it. I’m ready for it to be over.” She and her husband separated shortly after the jailbreak. He left Bryson City, where they lived, trying to start over somewhere away from the finger-pointing and whispering that followed him everywhere he went in the small town. Vestal didn’t take the stand during the trial, and she wouldn’t talk to the media openly about what happened, or why she did it. But jurors got a glimpse of what went on inside her head in a recording of a phone call she made to her dad after being arrested in California. “I don’t know. I just went crazy,” Vestal said to her dad. Miles, who was 27 when he escaped, will spend the rest of his life in prison serving consecutive life sentences. The violent home invasion and robberies perpetrated by Miles along an isolated country road in the small town of Bryson City haven’t been forgotten. “The homicide of Scott Wiggins and Heath Compton shook the whole community,” Welch said during Vestal’s trial. “Jeffrey Miles is the type of person our worst nightmares are made out of.”
It’s unclear how Vestal was able to plot the escape without other jailers or inmates being tipped off. Inmates live in bunkhouse quarters, and Vestal regularly entered the group living quarters to carry out her duties. But there were always other inmates around. Cameras were everywhere, and were constantly being monitored from a central control room. The two apparently passed notes undetected, however. The day of the escape, jailers searched the trashcans in Miles’ cell and found a torn up letter from Vestal. It wasn’t torn up very well, however, and the jail administrator Ginny Hyatt easily pieced it back together with tape. The letter outlined how the escape would go down, and showed Vestal’s feelings for Miles. “Nobody is going to get in the way of our future,” Vestal wrote. Miles’ friends from Atlanta were also locked up in the Swain County jail on the same charges of first-degree murder. Miles wanted Vestal to break them out as well. But Vestal refused in the end. She told Miles in the letter that she didn’t trust them, and
ticular setting. She was backed up against the door. Any time you are like that, you don’t have time to react if something goes wrong in the pod,” Walls testified in court. “They were there for a while and I advised my supervisor at that time what was going on.” Walls never heard any more about it, but his observations were passed up the chain of command to the jail administrator, Ginny Hyatt. She in turn told the sheriff, Curtis Cochran, and they called a meeting with Vestal. “We reminded her what Mr. Miles was charged with, the severity of the crimes, and to do her job and let that be that,” Cochran recounted in his testimony during Vestal’s trial. Cochran said Vestal didn’t say much in response, other than “OK.” “She is very quiet,” Cochran said. “To be perfectly honest with you, Anita was a good worker.” During the jail courtship, the enamored Vestal got a sizeable tattoo as a sign of her devotion to Miles. The tattoo bore the name of Miles’ gang “Thou Wou” along with the words “Go The Don,” which was Miles’ gang nickname. “She was in deep with him, ladies and gentlemen,” Assistant District Attorney Jim Moore told the jury at Vestal’s trial, showing them photos of her tattoo. “She is part of them now.” In court, Assistant District Attorney Ashley Welch displayed a pair of Miles’ boxer shorts that he had worn in jail, which were later recovered from the back of Vestal’s minivan. Donning a pair of rubber doctor’s gloves
‘AWAY FROM THERE’
country town, away from her extended Cherokee family, away from the same friends and people she’d been surrounded with since childhood. Possibly smothered by the limitations of her own life, stretching out the same as it had been since the day she was born, Vestal may have seen Miles as an escape, however fleeting. In a phone call to her husband after being arrested, Vestal hinted that she’d been unhappy. “You know how it was before,” Vestal said, according to a recording of her side of the phone call. And she made a reference to wanting to be “away from there.” On the other end of the line, her husband told her he loved her. “Still?” Vestal asked. Moore claimed that Vestal was blinded by her desire to be with Miles and couldn’t bear the thought that he might go away forever. “She was never going to be able to see him again. He was going to prison for the rest of his life and the only thing she could do was to break him out,” Moore said. By all accounts, Vestal comes from an upstanding family in Cherokee. Vestal’s father and mother, both Cherokee, separated when she was young, and she was raised by her father, Ronnie Blythe. Blythe is a polished and respected businessman who runs Cherokee Office Supply, doing a brisk business with hundreds of companies and clients in the region.
Perhaps Miles offered the allure of another life — away from the constraints of a small
S EE VESTAL, PAGE 17
“What she did was an affair of the heart. As stupid as it may have been, I think that is pretty much what motivated it. The court never saw her as a threat, or even a threat to try to run. She said from the beginning, ‘I did it. I don’t know why. I am sorry.’” — Ronnie Blythe, Anita Vestal’s father
first, Welch held the boxers up to the jury box, displaying the word “DON” written across the front in black permanent marker. Vestal has a new tattoo now, the initials of her steady boyfriend, Jess McCoy, who has lived with her for the past two years. His red initials on her wrist — J.M. — are coincidentally the same as Jeffrey Miles’.
“This isn’t a run-of-the-mill death. This is a brutal execution-style murder in your own home when your doors are locked and you are supposed to be safe.” — Ashley Welch, Assistant District Attorney
“After you found out about this escape, did any of you take more precautions? Were you scared?” Welch said. “This is the man who is brutal, who is vicious, who is unpredictable and he is deadly. Ms. Vestal broke everyone’s trust and formed a relationship with this nightmare.” But in the end, prosecutors lost the argument that Vestal should be on the hook for accessory. There is a critical legal element they were unable to prove. There’s no doubt Vestal helped Miles escape. But the lynchpin is whether Vestal knew Miles was guilty at the time. “Folks, she let him out of the jail,” Vestal’s attorney, Chris Siewers, admitted to jurors. “There is no way to sugarcoat that. You don’t understand what Anita Vestal did, and you don’t like what she did. I am not going to sit here and defend her on that.” But it came down to one question: Did Vestal know Miles was in fact guilty of the murders, or did she think he was innocent? “They have to prove that she knew. And there is no evidence of that,” Siewers said. “They want you to assume. But
Smoky Mountain News
BY B ECKY JOHNSON STAFF WRITER nita Vestal, a former Swain County jailer, was sentenced to only three years in prison last week after a jury convicted her for carrying out a jailbreak and running away with an inmate who was in custody, charged with a brutal double murder. But Vestal faced the prospect of more than 20 years had the jury also convicted her of more serious charges — namely several counts of “accessory after the fact” for the crimes committee by the man she helped escape. Ronnie Blythe, Vestal’s father, said the family had been tormented by the thought of Vestal going away for accessory to murder. “We were very concerned about the big charges placed against her. We were beside ourselves with worry about that. We always felt they were unfounded charges,” he said. Prosecutors argued during the month-long trial that Vestal knew what Jeffrey Miles had done when she carried out his jailbreak — and thus should go down as an accessory. “She knew good and well what Jeffrey Miles had done. But all she cared about was being together forever with him,” said Assistant District Attorney Ashley Welch. Trying to tie Miles’ heinous crimes to Vestal, prosecutors attempted to rekindle the fear and outrage that had swept through the small town following the murders. “Even total strangers are not safe when Jeffrey Miles is around. This isn’t a run-of-the-mill death. This is a brutal execution-style murder in your own home when your doors are locked and you are supposed to be safe,” Welch told jurors. She then reminded them of the uneasiness that permeated the community following Miles’ escape.
December 11-17, 2013
Vestal dodges long prison term
the oath you took as jurors says you are not allowed to assume.” In an interview after the trial, one of the jurors said they all thought Vestal probably knew. But they couldn’t be sure. “They couldn’t prove it. They couldn’t prove she knew,” said Juror Timothy Holder. And so they had to find her innocent on the accessory charges. “We erred on the side of caution,” Holder said. The jury deliberated for a day and a half before returning the verdict. There were just two holdouts who refused to budge initially. More than once, the jury sent notes into the courtroom saying they were unable to reach a consensus, but the judge kept sending them back in, and eventually the holdouts were brought over to the majority, Holder said. “We had to weigh a lot of factors. It was hard,” Jane Rogers, the jury foreman, said in an interview after the trial. “We took it very seriously.” Rogers said the jurors felt very sorry for the Wiggins family and their loss, however. “Our heart goes out to them,” Rogers said. Several members of the Wiggins family sat through Vestal’s trial. It was the third time they’d had to endure the blow-by-blow account of Wiggins’ death in that very same courtroom as the various defendants in the murder case came to trial. Each time, they had to start the healing process again, they said. “I am glad this part is over,” said Christie Jones, Scott Wiggins’ sister. Jones said her family was angry at Vestal for what she did initially, but they said locking her away for a long time as an accessory to murder wouldn’t have done anything to heal their grief and pain. “You kind of can’t believe somebody can be that stupid,” Jones said.
feared one of them would “snitch” on Miles. “Ain’t nobody going to hurt you never again, I promise you that,” Vestal wrote in her letter. The letter emerged as critical evidence against Vestal in the trial, used by prosecutors to portray the lengths she would go to for him. “She couldn’t wait to be together forever with Jeffrey Miles and she did everything she could to make sure that dream of her’s was going to happen,” Assistant District Attorney Ashley Welch said. “In a way she got what she wanted because now every time somebody hears the words ‘Jeffrey Miles’ they are going to think ‘Anita Vestal.’ So maybe they aren’t together in person, but they are together in spirit. So in a way she got what she wished for.” There were signs, albeit subtle ones, of Vestal’s budding infatuation with Miles. Garland Walls, who worked in the jail’s control room monitoring video feeds from cameras mounted throughout the jail, was the first one to notice Vestal fraternizing with Miles. It was the day of the Daytona 500, and inmates were gathered in the common area to watch the race on TV. Vestal, a shift sergeant at the jail, was in the common area with the inmates. It’s not necessarily unusual for jailers to venture into the inmates’ quarters. And it’s not necessarily unusual for female jailers to guard male inmates. But Walls witnessed an interaction between Vestal and Miles that he described as “flirtation-type stuff.” “She was way too close to him in that par-
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Ronnie Blythe and Diane Wiggins hug following the trial of Swain jailer Anita Vestal last week. Vestal, who is Blythe’s daughter, helped the man who shot and killed Wiggins’ brother escape from jail. The two families are distant relations. Vestal’s grandmother and Wiggins’ dad were first cousins. Becky Johnson photo
VESTAL, CONTINUED FROM 15
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It seems Vestal regretted running off with Miles fairly quickly. “I didn’t know how to get myself out of this mess,” Vestal told her husband in a phone call after being arrested in California. “I was trying to figure out a way to call you, but I didn’t know who to call or if the phones were tapped.”
HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE December 11-17, 2013
Blythe hopped a plane to California to see his daughter as soon as she was arrested and then drove her truck back across the country. The jail keys had been left under a seat. Once he returned, he hand-delivered the stolen keys from the Swain County jail back to the Swain County sheriff. Vestal’s uncle, Larry Blythe, is the longtime vice chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Larry even made an appearance in court, sitting through part of the trial in a show of solidarity, a testament to the value of family loyalty in Cherokee culture. “We certainly still love Anita and didn’t want her to feel like we abandoned her because she had made a terrible mistake,” Ronnie Blythe said. “It is nothing as a parent that you can ever turn your back on your children for. We certainly didn’t cast her out by any means.” Ironically, Vestal’s family tree also includes Scott Wiggins, one of the men murdered by Miles. Vestal’s grandmother on her dad’s side and Wiggins’ dad were first cousins. Wiggins’ dad had once been the sheriff of Swain County. Both families — Vestal’s and Wiggins’ — sat through the trial, just benches apart. And it became apparent they shared more than a common lineage. The same man had inflicted ruin in both families’ lives. When the trial concluded, Vestal’s father and Wiggins’ sister locked in a long, sorrowful embrace in the parking lot, clutching each other tightly for nearly a minute before climbing into their cars and returning to pick up the pieces of their respective lives.
A video recording of Vestal calling her husband after her arrest in California was played during the trial. Vestal didn’t cry or break down. She seemed hollow and detached, as if calling home to check in while away on a business trip. “Are the kids awake? Are they in the bed or what? Is everybody all right? Is granny all right?” Vestal asked. Her husband’s side of the conversation didn’t come through in the audio. But he seemed to ask, repeatedly, whether she was all right, and if she’d been coerced or threatened to do what she’d done. “I’m all right … I don’t know…. I don’t know…. No, I did this on my own,” Vestal said in a series of replies. “We were staying at a hotel since we got out here. I’ve not done nothing. I stayed in the hotel room and that’s it.” Her voice wavered only once, realizing she had let her children down, and fishing for some sort of affirmation to lessen her own despair. “I’d been one hell of a mom until about four weeks ago, huh?” Vestal said. Vestal told her husband she was afraid to come back home, afraid to face people and afraid of what they would say. “I know everybody is going crazy down there. I might come back in to Bryson City and they try to shoot me. You know how it is with black people out there,” Vestal said in the phone call to her husband. “Basically what they are going to say is, ‘You are a n—— r lover. You helped a n——r get out of jail.’ And that’s what I am scared of coming back there for.” With Vestal now in prison, her children are being split up among different family members. One will live with Vestal’s father, one will live with their dad, and two will go live with a sister-in-law in Utah. “It will be good for them. It will get them away from here and away from the circumstances,” said Ronnie Blythe, Vestal’s father. As for Vestal, she wants to start over herself — in a new town. When she gets out of prison, she will be 40. “She indicated she would just like to start over, in a new place, a new start,” Blythe said. “It has been a real difficult time for us and for her, and for the people involved. We are glad it is over.”
Tangible evidence of Jesus left behind for us to find
Taming unruly meetings in Maggie a goal for new town leaders BY B ECKY JOHNSON STAFF WRITER aggie Valley town leaders hope to create a new tone and tenor for town meetings, with “civility” being the operative word. Maggie meetings have a long history of being contentious and rancorous at times. Debate sometimes devolves into a volley of accusations and criticisms between board members and the audience. Town board members are now looking at ways to preserve an open dialogue with the audience during town meetings, with caveats. “I always hoped as a small town we could have a level of dialogue with the public. It is still my desire to have some of that, but it has come to my attention there has to be some decorum and some rules, and we have to set some limitations,” said Mayor Ron DeSimone. The town board discussed ways to rein in public comment last week at its monthly “agenda-setting” meeting — an informal session that’s a precursor and rehearsal of sorts for its official meeting held the following week. Alderman Mike Eveland said if the public doesn’t oblige, the town may have to revoke its generous public comment policy. Maggie Valley meetings have a more robust public comment arena than most towns. Legally, local governments have to allow public comment, but it’s usually confined to the beginning of the meeting and limited to three minutes per person. But in Maggie Valley, audience members occasionally chime in during the meeting. “The free dialogue with the board from the crowd just doesn’t work. We are going to have to set some ground rules for public comment,” DeSimone said. But DeSimone said he doesn’t want to restrict people to just three minutes, though. “I would like to do more than that,” DeSimone said. “We have to find a way to do that,” Eveland agreed. But, “We don’t necessarily have to let one person talk for 30 minutes,” Alderwoman Saralyn Price said. Eveland joked the town should buy a giant egg timer, holding his hands up shoulderwidth apart. However, Alderman Philip Wight questioned whether the meetings are really out of control. “They aren’t out of control unless there is a hot topic,” said Wight. “If there is a hot topic, how else are people supposed to address their government?” Wight was unable to make the agenda setting meeting last week, but said he would be against any effort to shutdown the public from having a voice in their government. Price said she has a problem with audience members bashing town employees dur-
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Maggie Valley’s two newly elected board members, Janet Banks and Mike Eveland, conferred with fellow town leaders last week on ways to bring more civility to town meetings. Becky Johnson photo
A new sheriff in town New meeting protocols in Maggie Valley come amid political and leadership changes for the town: a new majority on the town board and a new town manager. Two seats on the five-person town board were up for election in November, and both were won by challengers — Mike Eveland and Janet Banks. They both campaigned on a platform of cooperation and unity, pledging to move past the divisiveness that has hamstrung the town in recent years. Whether discord at Maggie Valley meetings is inevitable or can be cured is anyone’s guess. It won’t be the first time new board members have vowed to work together in the best interest of the valley and put personal conflicts aside. Indeed, that was a platform of Mayor Ron DeSimone when he ran for mayor and won two years ago. But the new day for Maggie Valley once again failed to manifest, and after a honeymoon period, the divisiveness crept back, as ing the public comment session. That shouldn’t be allowed, she said. But DeSimone said that’s easier said than done. “It is a dynamic situation that is moving,” DeSimone said of the public comment periods. “You are trying to keep people from saying a derogatory things about anybody. But you have no idea what is going to come out of their mouth until it comes out of their mouth.” The town moved its formal public comment period from the traditional slot at beginning of the meeting to the end, hoping that questions from the public about various issues would be answered during the course
it had in the past. “I have certainly done some learning under fire the past two years,” DeSimone said. The board was locked in a two-to-two stalemate on some issues over the past year because it only had four members — instead of the usual five. A vacancy on the board was created when a former alderman moved away last year. Typically, the other board members would have appointed someone to fill the vacant seat. But the divided board was unable to agree on an appointment, so they waited until election time to let voters choose a replacement. Now the town board now has a plurality. Along with the vacant seat finally being filled, one of the sitting alderman, Mike Matthews, was ousted in last month’s election. And lastly, the town also has a new town manager. Nathan Clark, who had served as town planner for nearly a decade, was named town manager last month after the former town manager resigned amid controversy.
of the meeting. But there is a downside. Sometimes, the board will have already voted on an issue that audience members planned to speak out on. “That is a legitimate gripe so I try to engage the public through the meeting on certain issues,” DeSimone said.
JOINING FORCES As aldermen formulated their strategy for new meeting protocols last week, it sounded at times as if they were prepping against a guerilla attack.
S EE MAGGIE, PAGE 19
Jackson still â€˜economically distressedâ€™
MAGGIE, CONTINUED FROM 18
Jackson voids tax bill for Anglican Church
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we havenâ€™t had a chance to think about it yet,â€? said DeSimone, who has ended up in plenty of debates with audience members himself. Eveland said if a board member wants to respond, they should raise their hand and wait to be acknowledged by the mayor before piping up. That way, DeSimone can act as a referee or potentially save a board member from losing their temper when firing back. â€œI might be all worked up because someone called me a bobo,â€? Eveland said. Another wildcard at town meetings has been surprise topics brought up for discussion â€” or even for a vote â€” at the 11th hour. Sometimes, aldermen would act in concert with audience members to force discussion of an issue that wasnâ€™t on the agenda. From now on, once the agenda is crafted,
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WILL IT WORK? The various meeting protocols discussed last week give DeSimone more control than heâ€™s had in the past. He can control who speaks at meetings and whether an issue gets put on the agenda. Items canâ€™t be discussed unless they are on the agenda. He can also control the message with other aldermen in his pre-meeting one-on-one discussions. DeSimone has been criticized by some residents and two of the other aldermen for unilateral, top-down decision making over the past year. Their has been a public outcry at some meetings in an attempt to hold the mayor accountable, Wight said. â€œThat would go away if we started having honest, open government,â€? Wight said.
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need to file for a tax-exempt status. â€œI actually helped him take the measurements,â€? Murphy said. Commissioner Mark Jones, who lives in Cashiers, confirmed Murphyâ€™s assertions about the renovation and construction dates. â€œThey have been doing what a tax-exempt entity would do in the time they have been open,â€? Jones told fellow commissioners. McMahon said his office was following standard protocol when it sent the disputed $2,752 tax bill to the church. â€œEveryone has to make application to gain a tax-exempt status. If you fail to file in January, you have to file a reason for good cause,â€? he said. â€œThe state statute does not specifically say what is â€˜good cause.â€™â€? The board voted 4-1 to excuse the tax bill, with Chairman Jack Debnam voting against the move. After the meeting, Debnam said his vote was in support of county staff who followed normal procedures and deserved support for their actions.
December 11-17, 2013
Leaders from Christ Anglican Church in Cashiers convinced Jackson County commissioners to waive their property tax bill for 2013 even though they applied for a taxexempt application after the Feb. 1 deadline. Father Jim Murphy explained to commissioners that the church acquired the property in September 2012 and renovations continued until May 2013. After construction was finished, the church filed for its tax-exempt status. â€œI know ignorance is no excuse,â€? said Murphy. â€œBut we have already been a benefit to the community. Already we are attracting parishioners from Bryson City, Cashiers, and even Transylvania County.â€? Tax Assessor Bobby McMahon was actually at the church taking measurements for the assessment when Murphy learned of the
â€œThe free dialogue with the board from the crowd just doesnâ€™t work. We are going to have to set some ground rules for public comment.â€?
Eveland stressed the importance of the board having â€œeach otherâ€™s backs.â€? The board agreed that if they are civil with one another, even when they disagree amongst themselves, that it would help set the overall tone for meetings. â€œIf this board is showing courtesy to each other, we stand a better chance,â€? DeSimone said. The board discussed several ways to make their meetings more orderly and productive â€” like not getting into a tit-for-tat with audience members. Even though it might make board members seem aloof, they should merely listen rather than try to respond, said DeSimone. â€œSomeone who walks in the door, they have their thinking process already done. But it is the first time we are hearing it and
Jackson County retained its status as one front of potential new business or industry. of the economically distressed counties in Wooten, though, thinks Jackson County North Carolina according to just-released should move from a 1 to a 2 ranking when the rankings, but county manager Chuck Wooten Department of Commerce releases new evalthinks some of the factors in that ranking are uations in 12 months. improving and others are â€œdistorted.â€? â€œUnfortunately, since our poverty rate is â€œI would expect in 2015 above 19 percent and our popthat if we have done better on ulation is less than 50,000, by the poverty rate, weâ€™ll see our ECONOMIC statute we have to be a tier 1,â€? poverty rate and our tier rankWooten told commissioners. TIER RANKINGS ing improve,â€? Wooten told The recently released rank2013 2014 county commissioners at a ings for 2014 list Jacksonâ€™s Haywood 3 2 meeting last week. poverty rate a 19.5 percent. Jackson 1 1 The N.C. Department of Only 29 North Carolina counSwain 1 1 Commerce ranks counties as a ties have a higher poverty rate. Macon 2 2 1, 2, or 3 based on several ecoWooten, who was previousnomic factors, with a 3 rankly a vice chancellor at Western ing going to those with the strongest Carolina University, thinks the poverty rate of economies. Depending on where counties fall students, part-time students and former stuin the ranking, they are able to offer differing dents living in and around Cullowhee are partly tax breaks to news businesses based on job to blame for the high poverty rate. creation and salary expectations. The system â€œStudents living around Cullowhee are poor. was designed to encourage economic devel- Thatâ€™s something we all know,â€? said Wooten. opment in the stateâ€™s most depressed areas. Jackson County had a tier 2 ranking in 2012 However, the irony of the rankings has been and first dropped to a tier 1 in 2013. Swain has a that some counties prefer remaining in the tier 1 ranking also while Macon County has a tier â€œeconomically distressedâ€? category in order to 2 ranking. In the just-released data, Haywood have a better package of tax breaks to dangle in County fell from a tier 3 to a tier 2 ranking.
â€œnothing should be added,â€? DeSimone said. â€œNo more blindsiding,â€? Alderwoman Janet Banks agreed. The board also talked about what to do when members of the public want a spot on the agenda to say their piece, instead of being relegated to the formal public comment period. Town Manager Nathan Clark said the town needs to be more judicious than it has. â€œTo say, â€˜Put me on the agenda so I can tell the town that I hate the townâ€™ over and over again, that is not an agenda item,â€? said Clark. Clark was just named town manager last month, but early indications are that he will take a more active role enforcing meeting protocols. â€œThe town manager could have curbed some of that,â€? Eveland said. DeSimone said meetings will go smoother if board members talk about issues before the meeting. Legally, the town board canâ€™t discuss matters in private â€” at least not as a group, according to the N.C. Open Meetings Law. But board members can have one-onone conversations with each other. DeSimone suggested funneling everything through him. â€œI try to be command central. I try to contact you and talk about it and then contact you and talk about it and then contact you and talk about it,â€? DeSimone said, going around the boardroom table.
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BRYSON CITY, ASHEVILLE, FRANKLIN
Opinion The horse ‘network’ warmly welcomes a stranger Smoky Mountain News
was trying to sell myself to my prospective new boss, Scott McLeod. I may not know anyone in the Haywood County area yet, I told him, but don’t worry — I’m a horse person. We have a network. So as soon as I knew I’d been hired, I got in touch with all the horse people I’d met with connections in this part of the world. My old friend Katherine, who grew up riding ponies in Asheville, put me in touch with Connie Moore, a fellow-rider who lives in Haywood County. Maybe you know Connie. I got on the phone with her and quickly got all sorts of great advice about boarding barns and other practicalities. I looked forward to meeting her. I loaded my worldly goods into my old truck, and my little mare into the trailer, and we set off westbound on I-40. Smooth driving — till we came to that big climb just east of Asheville. On the way up the mountain, something went horribly wrong. The truck failed to shift down and quickly lost power. Even when I shifted manually down to second gear, it barely limped along. The “Check Engine” light went on. We climbed the entire grade on the shoulder at 20 mph, and once we reached the crest, I could smell something nasty from the front of the truck. Then I lost my power steering. As I wrestled the rig onto the exit ramp at Swannanoa, I
Liberarians alive and well in Haywood County
To the Editor: I would like to respond to the article in the Oct. 30 issue of The Smoky Mountain News discussing the “internal debate” which “divides Haywood GOP.” In this article, some members of the Republican party of Haywood County were told that they were better suited for the Libertarian party because the Libertarian party is for “conservative purists” who are “so far right they’ve fallen off.” Let me point out that this is a misguided notion. Libertarians are not far right conservatives. In fact, to be Libertarian is to be neither left nor right. Rather, Libertarians consider themselves fiscally responsible and socially liberal and advocate both a smaller government and less restriction on individual rights. I can understand how someone unfamiliar with the philosophy could find themselves confused and misuse the terminology, as Libertarian philosophy defies the simple left-right paradigm that American culture has been saddled with over the last century, and which is advocated throughout the mainstream. Put simply, Libertarians advocate the freedom and responsibility given to the people in the Constitution: we all have unalienable rights that exist without restriction, until their use violates the rights of another. Not only does this mean freedom from burdensome taxation, but also less restriction on the individual and therefore less government. As you can see, our philosophy is not that of a “far right” Republican, but something different altogether.
heard a loud clunk under the hood. Great. Have I blown a piston? I crept into the BP station at the corner of Highway 70, threw the truck into Park, checked on the horse (who seemed unfazed) and threw the hood up. Hmmm. The serpentine belt was missing. All I could see was a bunch of naked pulleys. That must have been the clunk. OK. So I have something similar to AAA that’s for people who haul horse trailers. I called the 800 number and Managing Editor found, to my dismay, that my membership renewal hadn’t been processed, and no, I couldn’t talk to the office because it was a Sunday. So I called Connie, who, at this point, I had still never met face to face. And whose only question was: what size tow ball do I need? My trailer takes a 2-inch, I told her. I’ll call you right back, she said. A few minutes later, Connie was on the phone again. She’d found a 2-inch tow ball. I’ll be there in 40 minutes, she said. And so she was. First we had to get Lady off the trailer (you can’t leave a horse on an unhitched trailer). Lady (remarkably and unchar-
That being said, I would also like to reach out to the “conspiracy group” mentioned in the piece who are being accused of dividing the Republican party, and whose contribution to the party appears to be unappreciated. Those conspirators would be more than welcome to join me and my fellow Libertarians at our meetings, at 7 p.m. every second and fourth Tuesdays, at the future site of the Cross Country School of Real Estate, 176 Waynesville Plaza. Our meetings are open to all political persuasions, and we do not expect everyone who attends to be a registered Libertarian. The Libertarian Party of Haywood County is interested in hearing what local citizens have to say, and are open to all opinions and perspectives. We only require that participants respect one another and listen to all opinions without censure. We would never limit your freedom of speech, and we encourage the “robust dialogue” that Tracy Coward advocated for the GOP. I would also like to respond to the fact that in the article Mitchell Powell is quoted claiming that renegade Republicans are part of the GOP because they find it “impossible” to run as Libertarians. This again is a flippant use of terminology and is incorrect. Not only is it possible to run for office in North Carolina as a Libertarian, the Libertarian party of Haywood County is planning to run a candidate for Haywood County commissioner in 2014. I invite any rebellious Republican who is interested in leaving an unappreciative GOP with all its name-calling and petty brawling to join us in this endeavor. Our party could use your enthusiasm to shake up Haywood County government and break the cycle of politics as usual with all its bickering and squabbling.
acteristically calm through all this) backed off the trailer, and Connie walked her around between the gas pumps while customers looked on in bemusement and I cranked the jack, unhooked the chains and managed to persuade the wounded old Silverado to move a few yards forward, leaving room for Connie’s Tahoe to back up to the trailer. Then it was my turn to hold on to the horse while Connie backed the Tahoe up. At which point we discovered — hallelujah! — that she even had the right socket for my trailer’s electrical plug. It was dark by now. We’d have lights! And so — trailer hitched up, horse reloaded, and having secured permission to leave the crippled Silverado overnight at the gas station — we headed west, to Connie’s barn, where another set of folks I’d never met had a stall ready for Lady. On Monday I got things straightened out with the road service folks, and the truck found its way to Walker’s Service, where they fixed in it a couple of hours, and I found myself feeling strangely at home in a place I’d lived a total of 24 hours. It says something about a place, this kindness to newcomers. Thanks, Haywood County. Connie wouldn’t even let me pay for her gas. (Susanna Rodell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
We are seeking to move our county forward, and there are many in Haywood County who see through the two-party paradigm to what the founding fathers intended for us. For example, Lynda Bennet from Maggie Valley wrote an opinion piece in the Nov. 27 issue of The Smoky Mountain News where she pointed out that: “Freedom is not free; it must be fought for everyday. Limiting government insures freedom. I will even protect your freedom to disagree with me.” This is a Libertarian perspective, and I appreciate her taking the time to demonstrate that not everyone has been taken in by the present government’s need to parent us — to control our speech, to protect us from ourselves, to tell us how to think. Surely, the infighting between the Republicans is only part of that party’s problem in winning over this largely Democratic controlled county. Not only are they so frivolous as to fail to recognize the value of the supporters within their own party, in whatever guise they may appear, they have also shown blatant disregard for real Libertarians and their values. The people of Haywood County expect more maturity from their elected officials, and deserve better. Windy McKinney Jonathan Creek
Affordable Care Act a blessing for my family To the Editor: Today I visited healthcare.gov on the internet, and thanks to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, I am now, at age 63, covered by healthcare insurance for the
LOOKING FOR OPINIONS The Smoky Mountain News encourages readers to express their opinions through letters to the editor or guest columns. All viewpoints welcome. Send to Scott McLeod at email@example.com or mail to PO Box 629, Waynesville, NC, 28786. first time in my adult life. Throughout my life I’ve had financial ups and downs with periods of relative prosperity and at other times, not so much. But, the real reason I never before invested in healthcare insurance is that I was never exactly certain what I was buying. There was always so much fine print written into the policies I felt as if I needed a lawyer to figure out what would be covered and what would not if, God forbid, I needed extensive medical care or hospitalization. I couldn’t bring myself to spend the time or money on such an uncertain venture. But, I am so thankful that is no longer the case because of the Affordable Care Act. Now there are standards the healthcare insurance industry has to live by. All pre-existing conditions are covered and so much more. At healthcare.gov I found a set of clear, affordable choices, all of which will ensure that I will never be financially destroyed because of a catastrophic illness or accident. Tonight I will sleep well knowing that my family and I are much more secure in life. Thank you President Obama and those in Congress who voted to pass the Affordable Care Act. Avram Friedman Sylva
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. ANTHONY WAYNE’S 37 Church St, Waynesville. 828.456.6789. Open for lunch Monday-Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; open for dinner Thursday-Saturday 5 to 9 p.m.; and Sunday brunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Exceptional, new-American cuisine, offering several gluten free items. 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. BOGART’S 35 East Main St., Sylva. 828.586.6532. Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Serving classic American food and drink in a casual environment. Daily lunch and dinner specials. Children’s menu available. Call for catering quotes. Private room available for large parties. Accepts MC/Visa, Discover and American Express. BOURBON BARREL BEEF & ALE 454 Hazelwood Ave., Waynesville, 828.452.9191. Dinner nightly from 4 p.m. Closed on Sunday. We specialize in hand-cut, all natural steaks, fresh fish, and other classic American comfort foods that are made using only the finest local and sustainable ingredients available. We also feature a great selection of craft beers from local artisan brewers, and of course an extensive selection of small batch bourbons and whiskey. The Barrel is a friendly and casual neighborhood dining experience where our guests enjoy a great meal without breaking the bank. BREAKING BREAD CAFÉ 6147 Hwy 276 S. Bethel (at the Mobil Gas Station) 828.648.3838 Tuesday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (takeout only 5 to 6 p.m.) Saturday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Serving Mediterranean style foods; join us for weekly
specials. We roast our own ham, turkey and roast beef just like you get on Thanksgiving to use in our sandwiches. Try our chicken, tuna, egg and pasta salads made with gluten free mayo. Enjoy our variety of baked goods made daily: muffins, donuts, cinnamon buns and desserts. BRYSON CITY BAKERY AND PASTRY SHOPPE 191 Everett St., Bryson City. 828.488.5390 Offering a full line of fresh baked goods like Grandma used to make. Large variety to choose from including cakes, pies, donuts, breads, cinn-buns and much more. Also serving Hershey Ice Cream. Open seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. CATALOOCHEE RANCH 119 Ranch Dr., Maggie Valley. 828.926.1401. Family-style breakfast seven days a week, from 8 to 9:30 am – with eggs, bacon, sausage, grits and oatmeal, fresh fruit, sometimes French toast or pancakes, and always all-you-can-eat. Lunch every day from 11:30 till 2. Evening cookouts on the terrace on weekends and Wednesdays (weather permitting), featuring steaks, ribs, chicken, and pork chops, to name a few. Bountiful familystyle dinners on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, with entrees that include prime rib, baked ham and herb-baked chicken, complemented by seasonal vegetables, homemade breads, jellies and desserts. We also offer a fine selection of wine and beer. The evening social hour starts at 6pm, and dinner is served starting at 7pm. So join us for milehigh mountaintop dining with a spectacular view. Please call for reservations.
DO YOUR HOLIDAY
New Year’s Eve Dinner & Party!!
18 North Main Street Waynesville • 452.3881 MON-FRI: 7 a.m.-5 p.m. SAT: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. SUN: 8 a.m.-2 p.m. ASHEVILLE: 60 Biltmore Ave. 252.4426 & 88 Charlotte St. 254.4289
Dine Ala Carte or take advantage of our All-Inclusive Three Course Special. NYE Party featuring live music by Crocodile Smile. Reservations required. Burgers to Salads Southern Favorites & Classics
Buy One Entrée, Get One Free
-Local beers now on draft-
Live Music on the Patio Tues.-Fri. Call to see who’s playing.
117 Main Street, Canton NC 828.492.0618 • SidsOnMain.com Serving Lunch & Dinner
MON.-THURS. 11 A.M.-9 P.M. • FRI. & SAT. 11 A.M.-10 P.M. SUNDAY BRUNCH 11 A.M. TO 2:30 P.M. 218-59
Smoky Mountain News
GIFT BASKETS COOKIE BOXES OR BAGS & MUCH MORE Fair Trade Coffee & Espresso
BRYSON CITY CORK & BEAN A MOUNTAIN SOCIAL HOUSE 16 Everett St.,Bryson City. 828.488.1934. Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday brunch 9 a.m. to 3p.m., Full Menu 3 to 9 p.m. Serving fresh and delicious weekday morning lite fare, lunch, dinner, and brunch. Freshly prepared menu offerings range from house-made soups & salads, lite fare & tapas, crepes, specialty sandwiches
December 11-17, 2013
ARTISAN BREADS & PASTRIES
CITY LIGHTS CAFE Spring Street in downtown Sylva. 828.587.2233. Open Monday-Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tasty, healthy and quick. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, espresso, beer and wine. Come taste the savory and sweet crepes, grilled paninis, fresh, organic salads, soups and more. Outside patio seating. Free Wi-Fi, pet-friendly. Live music and lots of events. Check the web calendar at citylightscafe.com.
Cheers to the
Stop by now and place your orders for Christmas Eve
CITY BAKERY 18 N. Main St. Waynesville 828.452.3881. Monday-Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Join us in our historic location for scratch made soups and daily specials. Breakfast is made to order daily: Gourmet cheddar & scallion biscuits served with bacon, sausage and eggs; smoked trout bagel plate; quiche and fresh fruit parfait. We bake a wide variety of breads daily, specializing in traditional french breads. All of our breads are hand shaped. Lunch: Fresh salads, panini sandwiches. Enjoy outdoor dinning on the deck. Private room available for meetings.
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
of equal or lesser value Expires 12/30/2013. Must purchase two beverages. Must present coupon. Not valid on holidays or with other discounts or promotions. 218-73
and burgers. Be sure not to miss the bold flavors and creative combinations that make up the daily Chef Supper Specials starting at 5pm every day. Followed by a tempting selection of desserts prepared daily by our chefs and other local bakers. Enjoy craft beers on tap, as well as our full bar and eclectic wine list.
Now Booking Holiday Parties. ...small investment.
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COUNTRY VITTLES: FAMILY STYLE RESTAURANT 3589 Soco Rd, Maggie Valley. 828.926.1820 Open Daily 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., closed Tuesday. 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.
Full Service Catering for 15-500 BBQ to Caviar Bon Appetit Ya’ll! 828.456.1997 207 Paragon Parkway Clyde, NC
FRANKIE’S ITALIAN TRATTORIA 1037 Soco Rd. Maggie Valley. 828.926.6216 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Father and son team Frank and Louis Perrone cook up dinners steeped in Italian tradition. With recipies passed down from generations gone by, the Perrones have brought a bit of Italy to Maggie Valley. frankiestrattoria.com
December 11-17, 2013
FRYDAY’S & SUNDAES 24 & 26 Fry St., Bryson City (Next To The Train Depot). 828.488.5379. Frydays is open; but closed on Wednesdays. Sundaes is open 7 days a week. Fryday’s is known for its Traditional English Beer Battered Fish & Chips, but also has burgers, deep fried dogs, gyro, shrimp, bangers, Chip Butty, chicken, sandwiches & a great kids menu. Price friendly, $3-$10, Everything available to go or call ahead takeout. Sundaes has 24 rotating flavors of Hershey's Ice Cream making them into floats, splits, sundaes, shakes. Private seating inside & out for both locations right across from the train station & pet friendly.
HORS D’OEUVRES BUFFET 9 P.M.-MIDNIGHT
Smoky Mountain News
MIDNIGHT CHAMPAGNE TOAST
MUSIC BY SMOKE RISE BAND DANCING & PARTY FAVORS MIDNIGHT BREAKFAST BUFFET
FROGS LEAP PUBLIC HOUSE 44 Church St. Downtown Waynesville 828.456.1930 Serving lunch and dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, Sunday lunch and dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., closed Mondays. Frogs Leap is a farm to table restaurant focused on local, sustainable, natural and organic products prepared in modern regional dishes. Seasonal menu focuses on Southern comfort foods with upscale flavors. Come for the restaurant’s 4 @ 4 when you can choose a center and three sides at special prices. Offered WedFri. from 4 to 6. frogsleappublichouse.org.
INCLUDING LUCKY NEW YEAR’S FOODS
$5995/COUPLE PARTY ONLY
$9995/COUPLE INCLUDES ROOM
GUADALUPE CAFÉ 606 W. Main Street, Sylva. 828.586.9877. Open 7 days a week at 5 p.m. Located in the historic Hooper’s Drugstore, Guadalupe Café is a chef-owned and operated restau-
Single Rates Available Reservations Recommended
70 Soco Road • Maggie Valley Reservations: 828.926.0201
CORK & CLEAVER 176 Country Club Drive, Waynesville. 828.456.7179. Reservations recommended. 4:30-9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Tucked away inside Waynesville Inn, Cork & Cleaver has an approachable menu designed around locally sourced, sustainable, farm-to-table ingredients. Executive Chef Corey Green prepares innovative and unique Southern fare from local, organic vegetables grown in Western North Carolina. Full bar and wine cellar. www.waynesvilleinn.com.
rant serving Caribbean inspired fare complimented by a quirky selection of wines and microbrews. Supporting local farmers of organic produce, livestock, hand-crafted cheese, and using sustainably harvested seafood. HERREN HOUSE 94 East St., Waynesville 828.452.7837. Lunch: Wednesday - Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday Brunch 11 a. m. to 2 p.m. Enjoy fresh local products, created daily. Join us in our beautiful patio garden. We are your local neighborhood host for special events: business party’s, luncheons, weddings, showers and more. Private parties & catering are available 7 days a week by reservation only. J. ARTHUR’S RESTAURANT AT MAGGIE VALLEY U.S. 19 in Maggie Valley. 828.926.1817. Lunch Sunday noon to 2:30 p.m., dinner nightly starting at 4:30 p.m. World-famous prime rib, steaks, fresh seafood, gorgonzola cheese and salads. All ABC permits and open year-round. Children always welcome. Take-out menu. Excellent service and hospitality. Reservations appreciated. JUKEBOX JUNCTION U.S. 276 and N.C. 110 intersection, Bethel. 828.648.4193. 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Serving breakfast, lunch, nd dinner. The restaurant has a 1950s & 60s theme decorated with memorabilia from that era. LUCIO'S RESTAURANT 313 Highlands Road, Franklin. 828.369.6670. Serving Macon County since 1984. Closed Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. Lunch Wednesday-Friday 11:30 a.m. until.Dinner Wednesday-Saturday 5 p.m. until. Owned and operated by Tanya and Dorothy Gamboni. Serving authentic Italian and continental cuisine including appetizers, pastas, poultry, veal, seafood, steaks and homemade deserts. Selection of wine and beer. Lunch and Dinner menus. Wednesday and Thursday nights only. 1 appetizer and 2 selected entrées with unlimited salad and Lucio’s famous garlic rolls for $24.95. Winter Special: half-off house wines, Friday and Saturday only. luciosnc.com MAD BATTER BAKERY & CAFÉ Located on the WCU Campus in Cullowhee. 828.293.3096. Open Monday-Thursday 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Earth-friendly foods at people-friendly prices. Daily specials, wraps, salads, pastries, breads, soups and more. Unique fare, friendly service, casual atmosphere and wireless Internet. Organic ingredients, local produce, gourmet fair trade and organic coffees. MAGGIE VALLEY CLUB 1819 Country Club Dr., Maggie Valley. 828.926.1616. maggievalleyclub.com/dine. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Fine and casual fireside dining in welcoming atmosphere. Full bar. Reservations accepted. MOONSHINE GRILL 2550 Soco Road, Maggie Valley loacted in the Smoky Falls Lodge. 828.926.7440. Open Thursday through Sunday, 4:30 to 9 p.m. Cooking up mouth-watering, wood-fired Angus steaks, prime rib and scrumptious
tasteTHEmountains fresh seafood dishes. The wood-fired grill gives amazing flavor to every meal that comes off of it. Enjoy creative dishes made using moonshine. Stop by and simmer for a while and soak up the atmosphere. The best kept secret in Maggie Valley. themoonshinegrill.com 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.
PASQUALINO’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT 25 Everett Street, Bryson City. 828.488.9555. Open for lunch and dinner everyday 11:30 a.m.-late. A taste of Italy in beautiful Bryson City. Exceptional pasta, pizza, homemade soups, salads. Fine wine, mixed drinks and beer selection. Casual atmosphere, reservations appreciated. PATIO BISTRO 30 Church Street, Waynesville. 828.454.0070. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Breakfast bagels and sandwiches, gourmet coffee, deli sandwiches for lunch with homemade soups, quiches, and desserts. Wide selection of wine and beer. Outdoor and indoor dining.
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.
RENDEZVOUS RESTAURANT AND BAR Maggie Valley Inn and Conference Center 828.926.0201 Bar open Monday thru Saturday; dining room open Tuesday thru Saturday at 5 p.m. Full service restaurant serving steaks, prime rib, seafood and dinner specials.
PASQUALE’S 1863 South Main Street, Waynesville. Off exit 98, 828.454.5002. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Classic Italian dishes, exceptional steaks and seafood (available in full and lighter sizes), thin crust pizza, homemade soups, salads hand tossed at your table. Fine wine and beer selection. Casual atmosphere, dine indoor, outside on the patio or at the bar. Reservations appreciated.
SOUL INFUSION TEA HOUSE & BISTRO 628 E. Main St. (between Sylva Tire & UPS). 828.586.1717. Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday noon -until. Scrumptious, natural, fresh soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps and desserts. 60+ teas served hot or cold, black, chai, herbal. Seasonal and rotating draft beers, good selection of wine. Home-Grown Music Network Venue with live music most weekends. Pet friendly and kid ready.
with the Buchanan Boys 83 Asheville Hwy. Sylva Music Starts @ 9 • 631.0554
SATURDAY, DEC. 14 • 12-3PM
PICTURES WITH SANTA TINA & HER PONY • 7PM
TUESDAY, DEC. 17 • 6PM
S PRING S TREET, D OWNTOWN S YLVA CREPES, PANINIS, SOUPS, SALADS, GOURMET PASTAS WINE & BEER
THE WINE BAR 20 Church Street, downtown Waynesville. 828.452.6000. Underground cellar for wine and beer, served by the glass all day. Cheese and tapas served Wednesday through Saturday 4 p.m.-9 p.m. or later. firstname.lastname@example.org. Also on facebook and twitter. VITO’S PIZZA 607 Highlands Rd., Franklin. 828.369.9890. Established here in in 1998. Come to Franklin and enjoy our laid back place, a place you can sit back, relax and enjoy our 62” HDTV. Our Pizza dough, sauce, meatballs, and sausage are all made from scratch by Vito. The recipes have been in the family for 50 years (don't ask for the recipes cuz’ you won't get it!) Each Pizza is hand tossed and made with TLC. You're welcome to watch your pizza being created.
STEAKS • PIZZA CHICKEN • SEAFOOD SANDWICHES OPEN FOR LUNCH & DINNER 7 DAYS A WEEK 1863 S. MAIN ST. WAYNESVILLE 828.454.5002 HWY. 19/23 EXIT 98
Mediterranean Style Foods 6147 Hwy 276 S. • Bethel (at the Mobil Gas Station)
bbcafenc.com • 828.648.3838 Tu-F 8-6 (takeout only 5-6) • Sat 8-3
Christmas Day Brunch Buffett 11:30 AM – 3:30 PM Adults $29.95* Young at Heart $19.95* Children 6 – 12 $14.95* Children Under 5 - Free
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828.456.3551, Ext. 366
are available at our award-winning inn for mountaintop dining and overnight stays.
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176 Country Club Drive *Excluding 7% NC Sales Tax & 21% Service Charge
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Looking for a
2300 SWAG ROAD WAYNESVILLE
December 11-17, 2013
TAP ROOM SPORTS BAR & GRILL 176 Country Club Dr. Waynesville 828.456.5988. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Enjoy soups, sandwiches, salads and hearty appetizers along with a full bar menu in our casual, smoke-free neighborhood grill.
BUILD ME A BOAT
SATURDAY DECEMBER 14:
SPEEDY’S PIZZA 285 Main Street, Sylva. 828.586.3800. Open seven days a week. Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday 3 p.m.-11 p.m., Sunday 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Family-owned for 30 years. Serving hand-tossed pizza made to order, pasta, subs, gourmet salads, calzones and seafood. Also serving excellent prime rib on Thursdays. Dine in or take out available. Located across from the Fire Station.
FRIDAY, DEC. 13 • 7PM
Smoky Mountain News
Open house, 2014 schedule released at Franklin arts center
The Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts recently announced its 2014 schedule, which includes Don Williams, Travis Tritt and Loretta Lynn. Donated photo
BY GARRET K. WOODWARD STAFF WRITER n a recent crisp early winter evening, hundreds of folks from around Western North Carolina and beyond converged onto the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin. “This year, 2013, was a great year for us,” said Paul Garner, manager of the SMCPA. Paul Garner “We’re always going to strive to do better, always step it up, always wanting to treat artists better, always wanting to treat our patrons better. We have a great year planned for 2014.” The Dec. 5 SMCPA open house was a way to thank those who have patronized the center and was also the launch pad for the 2014 performance schedule, which includes the likes of Don Williams, Travis Tritt and Loretta Lynn. Greeting people at the entrance, Franklin Linda Harbuck Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Linda Harbuck is all smiles when seeing the positive impact the center has had on her community and the region as a whole. “This facility is one of our biggest, most important assets we have in Franklin now,” she said. “The impact of it has been tremendous for our community with the quality of entertainment available to our region. It is a centerpiece of the community, and we’re
thrilled at the success of the events held here.” Since opening in 2009, the 1,500-seat state-of-the-art building has played host to a wide range of international stars, performances and productions. With names like Merle Haggard, Rhonda Vincent, Air Supply and Dr. Ralph Stanley, and shows ranging from ballet to magicians to comedy troupes, the performance space has become a beacon of artistic and cultural light in the area. “This place has become a necessity, I think, in Macon County,” said Lisa Kline, a proud attendee and usher at SMCPA. “Everyone here has worked so hard to make it so special. The last couple shows I worked, a good portion of the crowd was from out of town or here for the first time.” And it’s that sentiLisa Kline ment of getting people to stay in Franklin, rather than drive through it, that has been at the heart of SMCPA, a business started by Phil Drake. Drake owns an accounting software firm and a handful of other businesses in and around Franklin. “Phil took the time to build this, and he set a standard of excellence by having no foul talk or suggestive clothing here,” said usher Mary Ackerson. “His whole idea was to get people to not drive through Mary Ackerson Franklin, but stop here, go to a show, stay at a hotel and go to a restaurant.” Robbinsville-based country/rock group My
Highway showcased its talents onstage in front of a joyous crowd in celebration of the open house. Following the band’s first set, Garner took the microphone and announced the 2014 schedule to applause and cheers. When Loretta Lynn was named one of the year’s performers, Ackerson had a look of shock on her face, and immediately grabbed her cell phone. “I just called my husband and told him ‘Loretta is coming here,’” she said. “It just blows your mind. She’s a legend, a true blue legend. I can’t believe it.” Following the announcements, the crowd quickly lined up at the box office to purchase special “pre-sale” tickets for any of the shows listed. Standing eagerly in line, Franklin resident David Kellam is excited for the upcoming performances. “I used to have season tickets to the Fox Theatre in Atlanta,” he said. “Here, I can get home and into bed after show, where I’d still just be getting out of the parking lot at the Fox.” A few feet down from Kellam, Charlotte resident and Franklin second homeowner Tom Brown is appreciative of the unique hospitality provided by the SMCPA. “When I’m in Charlotte and a show down there is cancelled, I have to fight for my money back,” he said. “Here, they call you and ask where to send the money to.” That hospitality is something Garner is all about. “I come from a hospitality background, and I always try to bring that into everything I
do,” he said. “We’re excited about all of the shows coming here. We’re just really trying to hone in our market and stick to that.” Greeting patrons out in the lobby are dancers from nearby Betsy’s School of Dance. The adolescent dancers from schools around the county and north Georgia are in the final preparations for their rendition of The Nutcracker Ballet, which will be performed Dec. 20-21. “We used to do our performances in the small high school auditorium,” said dancer Raya Lannon. “Now, we have this huge backstage area at the center, a professional setup where you characterize yourself better and project yourself in a large room. It’s amazing.” “This building is helping the community grow and learn,” said ballet teacher Kelly Duff. “Our students are taking classes and lessons from professional performers who come in here. It’s a great opportunity for them to perform and learn from others.” Seeing a stream of satisfied patrons head for the parking lot following the open house, Garner is ready for 2014. For him, it’s about enjoying where you live and what you do. “My staff and I, we love what we do,” he said. “We work hard and chip away at it. When you love what you do, there are no bad days.” Editor’s Note: For more information and a complete list of the 2014 event schedule at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts, click on www.greatmountainmusic.com.
Country/rock group My Highway performed for guests during the open house at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts. Garret K. Woodward photo
“We used to do our performances in the small high school auditorium. Now, we have this huge backstage area at the center, a professional setup where you characterize yourself better and project yourself in a large room. It’s amazing.” — Raya Lannon, dancer with Betsy’s School of Dance
back about the night before and how much fun I had, it dawned on me “maybe I can do that instead of this.”
BY GARRET K. WOODWARD
Dave Stone. Donated photo
HOT PICKS 1 2 3 4 5
The Jingle Bell Bash featuring Gypsy Bandwagon will be Dec. 13 at The Classic Wineseller in Waynesville. The P.A.W.S. Benefit “Holiday Wine and Cake Tasting” will be at The Cottage Craftsman in Bryson City on Dec. 14. Entertainment star Randall Franks joins Raymond Fairchild for a “Christmas Show” at the Maggie Valley Opry House on Dec. 14. The Cherokee Healing and Wellness Coalition Potluck will be Dec. 21 at the Cherokee Youth Center.
SMN: What’s the key to telling a good joke? DS: A good joke must catch you off guard, a twist or angle you don’t see coming. To tell a good joke, you must be able to execute that component properly. SMN: What’s your favorite joke? DS: Oh man, there are so many. One that always sticks out is Zach Galafianakis, who said, “My girlfriend looks a little like Charlize Theron ... and a lot like Patrick Ewing.”
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SMN: Where do you draw inspiration for material from? DS: I tend to just look for things that don’t make sense, including my own behavior. Imperfection is great fodder for comedy, and I have plenty of that.
Cutthroat Shamrock plays No Name Sports Pub in Sylva on Dec. 14.
walked toward the building. This post office had large glass entrance doors and I guess he thought they were already open, but he marched up to the doors and walked right into them, smacking his face hard against the glass and then falling to the ground. I had never before had such a physical comedic reaction to something. I almost threw up from laughter as I learned first lesson in the power of physical comedy, and karma. SMN: What was the moment in your life when it clicked and you realized you wanted to make a career out of comedy? DS: The morning after my first open mic. I owned a small landscaping business at the time and one of my customers would require that I remove all of the dog crap from his backyard. This always took about an hour. I would use a flathead shovel to scoop up each pile and place it in a trash bag. As I thought
SMN: When you’re onstage, and your set heating up, where do you go? DS: It’s an overused term, but I really do try to be in the moment. When telling a joke, I always try to go back to that moment when I wrote that joke. The excitement that comes from creating a piece of comedy is pretty fantastic. That first moment when the light bulb comes on and you think to yourself, “Oh man, that’s funny, write that down.” SMN: What do you want people to think leaving your show? DS: Hopefully not much. My job is easier when the expectations are low. (Laughs). I guess I’d like them to leave thinking, “Well, that didn’t suck too bad.”
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Smoky Mountain News
Smoky Mountain News: When was the first time you remember laughing so hard it hurt? Dave Stone: I must have been 4 or 5 years old, living in Hendersonville, Tenn. I was in the car with my mother and brother as we pulled up to the post office. My mom would let just one of us run a letter into the post office to drop it in the outgoing box. For some reason, my brother and I, who was, and still is, three years older than me, loved to play errand boy because it was one of the few times at that age that we could go into a building by ourselves, I guess we got a kick out of the brief sense of responsibility. We both pleaded to do the task and for whatever reason, she picked him. As brothers tend to do, he gloated and rejoiced in his small victory by shooting me a smarmy look as he
SMN: You’ve done work on Squidbillies. What are your thoughts on the show’s role in the current stream of pop culture that is southern/redneck focused? DS: Squidbillies is great because it’s accurate. Of course it’s over-the-top, but it really captures a sense of the South that Hollywood rarely gets right. This is due largely to the fact that its creator, Dave Willis, is a bornand-bred southerner who understands both the charm and absurdity of the South.
Wrap up Christmas with
December 11-17, 2013
amed of the “12 Comics to Watch” for 2013 by LA Weekly, Atlanta-bred comedian Dave Stone has been taking over the stage with his southern flare meets keen observations of modern society. Stone was a semi-finalist on CMT’s “Next Big Comic” in 2012 and is a co-founding member of the renowned “Beards of Comedy Tour.” He’s also shared the stage with comedic legends Brian Regan, Patton Oswalt, Maria Bamford, Doug Benson and Marc Maron. But (at least for this journalist), Stone’s real feather in his hat is the work with the acclaimed adult cartoon, “Squidbillies.” A raw, in your face take on southern culture via animated squids and other oddities, the program is a unique, beautifully executed show of dialogue, art and satire. And yet, with all of these accolades, the journey has only begun for him, a performer who seems to push further and higher with each passing year. Stone will be performing at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21 at BearWaters Brewing Company in Waynesville. Doors open at 9 p.m. $5. Ages 18 and over. www.davestonecomedy.com.
SMN: Do you remember the first night you took the stage to do stand-up? DS: Of course. It was at a bar in Atlanta called The Twisted Taco. I was scared, but it went well. I had a game plan, meaning I had jokes. My delivery wasn’t very good, but I got some laughs and was immediately hooked. My opening line was “I think there’s been a mistake. I just came to pick up some wings and that guy (the emcee) called my name, so I guess I’ll talk to y’all for a few minutes.”
arts & entertainment
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arts & entertainment December 11-17, 2013 Smoky Mountain News
Haynes takes pride in ties to Asheville, WNC BY JOE HOOTEN CORRESPONDENT sheville will once again be the home of the annual Warren Haynes Christmas Jam at the Asheville US Cellular Center Dec. 13-14, where hometown hero and allaround guitar god Haynes will present yet another impressive lineup of talent. This year’s two-day event promises to be one to remember, with the recent additions of Gregg Allman and Widespread Panic, previously announced acts like O.A.R. (of a Revolution), Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Michael Franti, and the Phil Lesh Quintet, just to name a few, make the price of admission seem like a steal. For the 15th year in a row, the Christmas Jam will directly benefit the Asheville area Habitat for Humanity. Nearly 25 families have become homeowners from charitable donations and profits stemming from the annual concert. Each year the Christmas Jam has become synonymous with impromptu jams, unique collaborations, and a few surprises that will make it a much lauded and ultimately unforgettable concert experience. If you can’t make one of the two nights, then seek out the “Xmas Jam by Day” held throughout downtown Asheville in various music halls and bars — you never know who might sit in for a song or two. Haynes has remained connected with the charitable organization and offers his services both on and off the stage to the Asheville community when he has the opportunity. Already Haynes is in possession of a key to the city, has a street named after him in recognition of his humanitarian and charitable work, and recently was given an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from UNC-Asheville. His contributions to the Allman Brothers Band, The Dead, Gov’t Mule, and various solo and collaborative projects has landed him a spot on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of all time. He is truly a man in motion, a seemingly endless whirlwind of activity who stays busy throughout the year. Although he’s played all over the world, Christmas Jam in Asheville is something he holds very special and looks forward to every holiday season. Haynes recently spoke to The Smoky Mountain News about the upcoming Christmas Jam.
SMN: Congratulations on the 25th anniversary of the Christmas Jam. Did you ever think it would evolve into what it’s become? Warren Haynes: It’s amazing it’s been that long, it’s hard to believe it’s gonna be the 25th one. We had no way of predicting it would go even more than a year. It felt good and we kept doing it and it kept getting bigger each year. You know in the beginning it was just a local event, an opportunity for 26 local musicians to get together and have fun.
The money we raised we gave to local charities, but it was more about the comradery and getting everyone together. SMN: I’m sure you still enjoy getting together with old friends and making new ones at the Jam. Haynes: Absolutely, I try to see as many old friends when I’m home and of course a lot of the people, even on a national level, that come to be a part of the Christmas Jam, are people that I’m associated with. Some are close friends, some I’ve worked with on projects, but it’s wonderful that all these folks volunteer their services to be a part of it. SMN: The talent each year has always been impressive, when do you start reaching out to bands and artists? Haynes: It starts pretty early, I would say somewhere around March or April we start making phone calls. We know people’s schedules are gonna change, we’re just trying to get the seeds planted and see who’s interested for the year and see who’s hoping their schedule will be free, but it’s a sensitive time of year for people to commit to so we keep the lines of communication open. Of course people’s schedules will open up and some will close. We’re still changing things even in the last few months of the year. SMN: Have some of the surprise guests been true surprises or have they known in advance? Haynes: It varies from artist to artist and year to year. Some people will say, “I’ll be there if I can,” and as we get closer they figure out if they can make it or not. Some will know a month or two ahead of time, but they have some commitment that doesn’t allow them to be a part of the advertisement. Every situation is different. SMN: How did your relationship with the Asheville area Habitat for Humanity begin? Haynes: When we first started the Christmas Jam we would pick a different charity every year, and of course we weren’t generating a lot of money, but we would just donate it all. Eventually, somewhere down the line, Habitat became one of those charities and it just felt right. What I love about Habitat is that you can see where the money’s going, you can see the houses that are being built. There’s an underlying question, with any charity, if you don’t know the answer, how much of the money actually trickles down to the cause. With Habitat you see it. We know exactly where the money’s going. It’s a wonderful organization and one that I’m proud to be associated with. SMN: There’s not a lot of musicians that give back to their hometowns quite like you do. What motivated you to do so? Haynes: I do think a lot of musicians give
back to their hometowns in ways that you just might not see or hear as much about. I think it’s easy for musicians to give back because we’re just doing what we’re doing every day anyway, which is just playing music. There’s something very special about the music that gets played when people are volunteering their services and playing for charity. It takes on the spirit of the event. That’s one of the things I love about Christmas Jam, the music that takes place there is not just a rehearsed, orchestrated show, like a typical concert would be. There’s a lot of flying by the seat of our pants, a lot of impromptu pairings and
approach, it varies so much from night to night that you never know when you’re gonna have a great night, a pretty good night, or not so great night. It’s something you just can’t predict. You can try to keep the law of averages on your side, but there’s no way to force it, and when it happens that’s what we’re there for, that’s what we all do it for. The Christmas Jam is a great representation of that, so much wonderful music happens because the connection between the audience and musicians on stage is so positive and so strong and that’s what creates that energy that inspires wonderful improvisational music. That’s not to say that all the music is improvisational, it’s just a nice part of the overall picture.
SMN: Over the past 25 years of jams, any of those special moments on stage stand out? Haynes: Well, there were some bizarre collaborations like Branford Marsalis and Marty Stuart playing together for the first time, which was beautiful to witness. They are both wonderful musicians that possess the ability to go far beyond what people might expect of them, as far as genres are concerned. One of the things all the musicians that are a part of the Christmas Jam tend to have in common is that we all love a lot of different types of music, we all look for opportunities, reasons and excuses to play music that’s different than what we’re known for or Anna Webber photo what we’re expected to play. A lot of the musicians are open-minded and love to “There’s something very special express themselves in different ways, and seeing those about the music that gets played kind of moments is very spewhen people are volunteering their cial. Watching Branford and Dave Matthews play together services and playing for charity. It was really cool. One of my favorites was when Ralph takes on the spirit of the event.” Stanley was there, every — Warren Haynes musician that was at the Jam that year was standing on collaborations, especially people that are stage watching, because no one was going to meeting for the first time and wind up on miss that. That was really something to stage together. Sometimes lifelong friendships behold, everyone standing there watching in are built out of those moments, but the music awe at Ralph Stanley doing what he does after itself benefits from that spirit as well because all these decades. somehow we’re all reminded why we started playing music in the first place. I think we all SMN: Looking ahead to 2014, what’s to consider ourselves lucky and fortunate to do be the future of the Allman Brothers Band? what we love for a living, so that makes the Will there be any more tours or albums? thought of giving back that much more Haynes: Well, next year is the 45th appealing. anniversary. We’re gonna be back at the Beacon in March, there’s other shows schedSMN: You’ve played all over the world in uled for the year, it’s going to be a very spea wide range of venues. Is it still exhilarating cial year. Gregg’s doing great, he’s going to to get up there with old and new friends in be at the Christmas Jam both nights and front of a hometown crowd? we’re going to play an acoustic set Friday Haynes: Absolutely. Since all of us tend night and an electric set on Saturday night. to play music with an improvisational I’m really looking forward to it.
On the beat
Television star and International Bluegrass Music Museum legend Randall Franks, “Officer Randy Goode” of the former show “In the Heat of the Night,” will be a special guest during the “Christmas Show” at 8 p.m. Dec. 14, at the Maggie Valley Opry House. Franks will appear onstage with Raymond Fairchild and his band. “Raymond Fairchild is one of America’s greatest talents and I am honored to share the stage with him,” Franks said. “Come and share some classic country comedy, Appalachian fiddlin’ and some of my gospel hits.” Franks’ music has been heard in 150 countries and by more than 25 million Americans. His musical career consists of 19 album releases, 19 singles and more than 200 recordings with various artists from various genres. The Stone Mountain Travelers open the performance. Admission is $15. 828.648.7941 or www.raymondfairchild.com.
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• Brandon Reeves, Dustin Martin & The Ramblers, and Cutthroat Shamrock will perform at No Name Sports Pub in Sylva. Reeves plays Dec. 12, Martin Dec. 13, and Cutthroat Shamrock, Dec. 14. All shows are free and begin at 9 p.m. 828.586.2750 or www.nonamesportspub.com.
with Productive Paranoia, Dec. 20. All shows are free and begin at 6:30 p.m. 828.454.5664 or www.froglevelbrewing.com.
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• Build Me A Boat, Tina & Her Pony, Wyatt Espalin, and Eric Hendrix & Friends will play City Lights Café in Sylva. Build Me A Boat performs Dec. 13, with Tina & Her Pony, Dec. 14, Espalin, Dec. 20 and Hendrix, Dec. 21. All shows are free and begin at 7 p.m. 828.587.2233 or www.citylightscafe.com.
Smoky Mountain News
The Voices in the Laurel’s “Winter Silent Auction” will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Harrell Center at Lake Junaluska. Auction-goers can bid on a variety of local and national items, art, gift baskets, jewelry, restaurant certificates and more. This auction is on the same day as the Junaluska Christmas Craft Show, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Harrell Center. Both events are in conjunction with the Appalachian Christmas Weekend at Lake Junaluska and the Voices in the Laurel Holiday Concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at the Lake Junaluska Chapel. Voices in the Laurel is a non-profit choir for first through 12th graders in Haywood, Buncombe, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties. www.voicesinthelaurel.org or 828.734.9163.
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December 11-17, 2013
The 3rd annual Community Christmas Concert will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, at the Jackson County Public Library in Sylva. The show is presented by the Western Carolina Civic Orchestra strings, area music teachers and their students. The celebration begins with caroling on the courthouse steps, led by Gayle and Phil Woody. The orchestra strings will begin the concert at 7 p.m. with classical pieces by Handel, Corelli and Bach. Students of all ages will join in for a selection of favorite Christmas carols, led by Lori Richards, flute, and Elizabeth Butler and Cathy Arps, violin. This program is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Jackson County Public Library and is supported by a grant from the Jackson County Arts Council. 828.586.2016.
• Bohemian Duo and Productive Paranoia tap into Frog Level Brewing Company in Waynesville. Bohemian Duo plays Dec. 13,
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Library hosts community Youth choir plans Christmas concert silent auction, concert
• A “Blue Ridge Christmas” with Sheila Kay Adams and Michael Reno Harrell will be at 7:45 p.m. Dec. 12, at The Strand at 38 Main in Waynesville. Adams is a National Heritage Fellowship winner, while Harrell is a widelyrenowned, platinum-selling artist. Both encompass the history, culture and music of Appalachia. $12. 828.283.0079 or www.38main.com.
arts & entertainment
Franks joins Opry House ‘Christmas Show’
• The Jingle Bell Bash featuring Gypsy Bandwagon and pianist Joe Cruz will perform at The Classic Wineseller in Waynesville. The Jingle Bell Bash plays Dec. 13, with Cruz Dec. 14. All shows begin at 7 p.m. $10 minimum food, drink or merchandise purchase. 828.452.6000 or www.classicwineseller.com.
arts & entertainment
On the wall
FREE APPETIZER OR DESSERT Photographer Ron Brunsvold will be featured at the Mahogany House Gallery in Waynesville for the month of December. Donated photo
Nature photographer showcased in Waynesville
December 11-17, 2013
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Smoky Mountain News
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Wildlife/nature photographer Ron Brunsvold will be the featured artist for December at the Mahogany House Gallery in Waynesville. Brunsvold will be on hand during “A Night Before Christmas” from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, on Depot Street in the Frog Level district of Waynesville. Brunsvold has photographed in many locations both in and outside of the United States.
He particularly enjoys photographing waterfowl and raptors at national wildlife refuges. His work also includes images of penguins in Antarctica, grizzlies in Alaska and polar bears in Canada. He also enjoys doing landscape photography in many of the country’s national parks and mountain ranges. 828.456.7614 or 828.400.1222 or www.ronbrunsvold.com.
Zedler, ‘Small Work’ regional art and Toys for Tots at Gallery 86
town Marshall. His gallery has been open to the public since early 2008, but his involvement in the arts and fine arts has extended throughout his life. His repertoire includes a variety of cutting edge abstract-expressionist contemporary and geometric-linear-cubist paintings. His work is currently featured at NewZart Gallery & Studio in Marshall, the clubhouse at the Hendersonville Racquet Club, the Madison County Visitors Center, Nelson Fine Art Gallery in Johnson City, and Salon Blue Ridge in Flat Rock. The HCAC will also hold a Toys for Tots donation box in the lobby of Gallery 86 until Dec. 18. 828.452.0593 or email@example.com or www.matthewzedlerfineart.com.
Painter Matthew Zedler and others are featured during a Gallery 86 showcase “It’s a Small, Small Work” through Dec. 28 at the Haywood County Arts Council’s Gallery 86 in Waynesville. The showcase features artists from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area and the Qualla Boundary. Requirements for the show are that all works must be no larger than 12 inches and that the price doesn’t exceed $300. Zedler is a modern/contemporary fine artist with a studio and gallery in down-
• The Junaluska Christmas Craft Show will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Harrell Center at Lake Junaluska. • The Franklin Chamber of Commerce Gingerbread House Competition will be from 5 to 9 p.m. through Dec. 13, at Town Hall, with cash prizes awarded to winning entries. Spectators may vote for the “People’s Choice” award. 828.524.3161.
• The films “A Christmas Story” and “The Polar Express” will be screened at The Strand at 38 Main in Waynesville. “A Christmas Story” will be shown Dec. 13-14, with “The Polar Express,” Dec. 20-21. All shows begin at 7:45 p.m., with a Saturday matinee for “The Polar Express” at 2 and 5 p.m. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for students. 828.283.0079 or www.38main.com.
• The Stecoah Christmas Arts & Crafts Show will be Dec. 14 at the Stecoah Valley Center in Robbinsville. www.stecoahvalleycenter.com. • The Local Artisan and Bed and Breakfast Tour for Seniors will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 18, in Waynesville. The trip leaves from the Waynesville Recreation Center, with lunch served at the Herron House. Cost is $20 for recreation center members, $23 for non-members. 828.456.2030 or firstname.lastname@example.org. • Glass Ornament Classes will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Jackson County Green Energy Park in Dillsboro. Lead by GEP artist Tadashi Torii, participants will work with molten glass to create holiday ornaments. Pre-registration strongly suggested. No experience necessary. $30. 828.631.0271 or www.jcgep.org.
arts & entertainment December 11-17, 2013
Smoky Mountain News
arts & entertainment
On the wall
Student film wins award W at Asheville festival
Smoky Mountain News
December 11-17, 2013
Western Carolina University student Andrew Dyson (center) served as the producer of “Jerry.” Donated photo
The Western Carolina University studentcreated film “Jerry,” a dark comedy about a homeless man who comes back to haunt the local politician who ran him over, won the jury award for the best student film at the 2013 Asheville Cinema Festival. “Jerry” was a film and television production program senior project that involved dozens of students in the School of Stage and Screen, as well as students in the School of Art and Design and School of Music. Sandi Anton, co-founder of the Asheville Cinema Festival, said making a comedy such as “Jerry” is very difficult. “Comedy is very subjective, and it can really fall flat, but when it works, as ‘Jerry’ did, it is delightful and thought-provoking,” said Anton. “The acting and direction
was inspired and fun — a great combination.” Jack Sholder, director of WCU’s film and television production program, said “Jerry” was very well crafted, from the photography, editing and acting to the main title sequence by the School of Art and Design’s Mason Adams to the score by Joe Basile, a master’s degree student in the School of Music. “What really struck me was the level of storytelling,” said Sholder. “The film keeps surprising you with its turns and keeps you engaged. When I was waiting for a screening to start on the last day of the festival, two women seated behind me were talking about a film they’d seen, and I realized they were talking about ‘Jerry.’ That’s as big a compliment as you can get.” 828.227.2324 or email@example.com.
YOUNG POETS COMPETE
Haywood Early College students recently participated in the National Career Development Association’s Poetry and Poster Contest, “Charting the Course for Our Second Century” held by Haywood Community College. Pictured (left to right) are the winners: Gabrielle Martini, first place; Michaela Allen, second place; and Kelly Smith, third place. The winners will be submitted to the state contest. Criteria for judging included originality, creativity, and development of the theme. Winners received gift cards provided by HCC’s Student Government Association.
On the streets
On the stage
The Cherokee Healing and Wellness Coalition is sponsoring a Snow Moon (Usgiwi) celebration and potluck lunch will be from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at the Cherokee Youth Center. The event will honor retired Cherokee educators for their years of service and the legend of the Red Cedar Tree will be shared. Attendees are asked to bring a traditional Cherokee food dish for the potluck lunch, along with your favorite beverage. Â 828.421.9855 or 828.554.6222.
Faculty member and students light and learn
The Lights and Luminaries festival will be held in downtown Dillsboro, Dec. 13-14. Helping Dillsboro glow for the townâ€™s annual Lights and Luminaries festival are Carroll Brown, an associate professor in the hospitali-
â€˘ The Polar Express train excursion is in motion through Dec. 29 at the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad train depot in Bryson City. Ticket prices begin at $40 for adults and $26 for children ages 2-12 years. Children 23 months and younger ride free. Crown Class ticket prices start at $50 for adults, $36 for children 2-12 years, and $10 for children 23 months and younger. 800.872.4681 or www.gsmr.com.
â€˘ The â€œWinter Wonderlandâ€? will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 13, in downtown Franklin. The town transforms into an array of live music, holiday decorations, wagon rides and more. 828.524.2516 or www.franklin-chamber.com.
â€˘ â€œA Night Before Christmasâ€? will be Saturday, Dec. 14, in downtown Waynesville. Businesses will stay open later for the last week before Christmas. Santa, luminaries, local musicians, storytellers, cloggers and area church carolers will line the streets and buildings. Horse-drawn wagon rides will also be available. www.downtownwaynesville.com.
â€˘ With the theme â€œA Storybook Christmas,â€? the Cashiers Christmas Parade will be from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Village Green. www.cashiersareachamber.com. â€˘ The P.A.W.S. Benefit â€œHoliday Wine and Cake Tastingâ€? will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 14, at The Cottage Craftsman in Bryson City. The event supports P.A.W.S., which helps Swain Countyâ€™s homeless dogs and cats. $5. 828.488.6207 or www.greatsmokies.com.
â€˜A Christmas Carolâ€™ in Waynesville The classic â€œA Christmas Carolâ€? will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13-14 and at 3 p.m. Dec. 15, at the Haywood Arts Regional Theater in Waynesville. With a cast of 45 and a nine-piece
Robert Ray, The Nutcracker in Franklin Robert Rayâ€™s â€œHome for the Holidays,â€? and The Nutcracker Ballet will be presented at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin. Robert Rayâ€™s â€œHome for the Holidaysâ€? will be held at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14. The production is an eclectic mix of the worldâ€™s best-loved Christmas music, presented in both familiar and imaginary ways. Tickets are $10. The Nutcracker Ballet will be Dec. 20-21. Set to the music of Tchaikovsky, this heartwarming holiday classic is perfect for the entire family. A full, two-act ballet presented by A Family of Friends Productions in conjunction with Betsyâ€™s School of Dance. Tickets are $7 for students, $11 for adults. 866.273.4615 or www.greatmountainmusic.com.
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â€˘ â€œBreakfast with Santaâ€? will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Dec. 14, at the Stecoah Valley Center in Robbinsville. Photo opportunities will be available. $5. 828.497.3364 or www.stecoahvalleycenter.com. â€˘ The Haywood County Chamber of Commerce â€œHoliday Cheer Partyâ€? will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 11, at Laurel Ridge Country Club in Waynesville. Live and silent auction, chef stations and local craft beer will all be available on-site. 828.456.3021.
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â€˘ â€œBreakfast with Santaâ€? will be from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Canton Armory. The event features Santa and a gingerbread house contest. $5 for adults, $3 for children, free for children age 4 and younger. Proceeds benefit the Share The Warmth program. Click www.focusofcanton.com for entry form and information. â€˘ â€œChristmas On the Greenâ€? will run through Jan. 6 at the Village Green in Cashiers. Thousands of twinkling lights and mirthful decorations will fill the park. While strolling the park pathways near the crossroads in Cashiers, guests can enjoy a Festival of Trees. www.villagegreencashiersnc.com.
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