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Feb. 27-March 5, 2013 Vol. 14 Iss. 39
Lodging owners sound off on proposed room tax hike
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Effective March 2, 2013 agent Blake Allman is concluding his relationship with Nationwide Insurance after 46 years of service in Bryson City and surrounding communities. We sincerely thank Blake and his staff for their years of dedication and service to both our policyholders and our company and we wish him nothing but the best according to Regional Vice President Lee Morton. Nationwide Insurance Company is committed to providing the same high level of support to our members currently serviced by the Allman Insurance Agency. Effective March 2, 2013 Nationwide Insurance Company will open a new office at 230 Main Street, Bryson City, NC, Phone 866-619-2929. Nationwide members can also speak to a service representative 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1-877-669-6877.
On the Cover: State and federal wildlife regulators busted up a bear poaching ring last week, arresting dozens of people on charges of illegal hunting and baiting, among others. (Page 24)
News Robersons named champions of Waynesville Main Street . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Maggie lodging owners decried proposed tax increase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Macon County asks state for help funding remote school. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Church’s “Pancake Day” a decades long hit. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Company tries to offer high-speed Internet in most rural areas . . . . . . . . . . 8 Jackson County, Sylva at impasse over joined ABC Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Cork and Bean expansion into the restaurant business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Federal sequestration to affect Cherokee health services. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Waynesville delves into numbers of possible Lake J merger. . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Local officials look at union of Junaluska and Waynesville . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Opinion Increasing Medicare coverage could decrease health care costs . . . . . . . 14
A&E Down-home, good fun found in Fines Creek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Outdoors Feb. 27-March 5, 2013
The Naturalist Corner. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
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Smoky Mountain News
BY CAITLIN BOWLING STAFF WRITER hen LeRoy Roberson and his wife, Gale, opened an optometric business on Waynesville’s Main Street 35-years-ago, about a quarter of the storefronts sat empty. The street was a hub for locals who visited the bank, went to the doctor or picked up everyday odds and ends. The Robersons used to buy emergency office supplies, such as pens and pencils, at a five and dime that was where Pheasant Hill is now. But like most small towns across America, downtown commerce was drying up, as the epi-
center of Waynesville shifted to the auto-centric strip malls on the outskirts of town. It was the antithesis of today’s vibrant and bustling Main Street — a healthy mix of touristy galleries and gift shops, professional offices, from lawyers to insurance firms, and delectable eateries and coffee shops. The Main Street the Robersons put their stock in 35 years ago, and stuck by through thick and thin, wasn’t always such a sure bet. “It was a different time, and definitely interesting,” said LeRoy Roberson, owner of Haywood Optometric Care and also a Waynesville town alderman.
Unlike the quaint bench-strewn, treelined street of today, there was no landscaping or antique lampposts back then, and a tangle of overhead power lines ran up and down the street. “Tourism was an afterthought then,” LeRoy Roberson said. But, he added, Waynesville has adjusted well. Now, the power lines are underground, giving people an unencumbered view of the façades; the sidewalks are perfectly laid brick; old-timey-looking streetlamps decorate the street. The Robersons’ work and devotion to downtown were recognized last month at the North Carolina Main Street Annual Awards Ceremony, where they won the honor of “Main Street Champions.” As a mainstay of Main Street, the Robersons have been active in the Downtown Waynesville Association, which in addition to bringing the street’s merchants together, works to maintain and improve Main Street’s appearance. For that reason, people are more willing to invest in their own building’s appearance, LeRoy Roberson said, just as he and his wife did. Main Street nearly died out as businesses like Belk and Dollar General moved to the outskirts of town. But, during the last two decades, the strip of downtown storefronts has experienced a renaissance and transformed into a collection of small, locally owned businesses — a positive improvement in LeRoy Roberson’s opinion and one he’s had a bird’s eye view of. In fact, when he ran for alderman for the first time in the 1990s, one of LeRoy Roberson’s campaign priorities was supporting small businesses. When locally owned shops and restaurants are making a profit, they invest it back in the town. “They employ more people; they pay better; they return more to the community,” LeRoy Roberson said, spoken like a true Main Street Champion. The downtown Main Street shops also sell more items made in the U.S. and more unique products. “You can find things downtown that you can’t find in big box stores,” said Gale Roberson, who buys what she can from the Main Street mer-
Some Maggie lodging owners get hackles up over room tax increase
Valley Chamber of Commerce has also written a letter of support. The room tax increase ultimately must be approved by the N.C. General Assembly. The deadline to get a bill introduced this year is just two weeks away. The movement to increase the lodging tax caught some Maggie lodging owners by surprise. Several at the meeting Monday expressed that the process was moving too fast for their comfort. “We feel that the bill, as proposed, is being ‘fast tracked’ without adequate research as to its implementation and impact,” said Karen Hession, president of the Maggie Valley Lodging Association, reading an open letter from organization members. The Maggie lodging association met Friday to talk about the TDA’s proposal and, Hession said, the feeling toward an increase was mostly negative. “This is something they are strongly against,” Hession said.
The lodging association staunchly opposed the increase — which would be tacked on to the bill of overnight guests — arguing that it would drive away business. However, a number of individual lodging owners were not necessarily against an increase but rather disliked the way the idea arose and the lack of in-depth planning for how the tourism authority will spend it. Joanne Martin, owner of Fireside Cottages, recalled the idea of a lodging tax increase being mentioned briefly at meeting in Maggie earlier this year, but it came across as merely an idea floating around. Then the next week, Martin said, it was on the TDA board’s agenda. “I have a lot of reservations,” Martin said. “Where was this being discussed?” The tourism agency has worked quickly during the last few weeks to get support for the proposed 2 percent increase. With the TDA and board of commissioners’ blessing, state representatives will draft and introduce a bill into the N.C. General Assembly that, if passed, would
Main Street Champions recall changing face of downtown Waynesville
Smoky Mountain News
Feb. 27-March 5, 2013
LeRoy and Gale Roberson of Waynesville were named “Main Street Champions” at the North Carolina Main Street Annual Awards Ceremony last month. The Downtown Waynesville Association nominated the couple for the state award. Photo courtesy of Garry E. Hodges
BY CAITLIN BOWLING STAFF WRITER he Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen got an earful from hotel and motel owners Monday during a nearly three-hour meeting held specifically to hear views about a proposed increase to the overnight lodging tax. The Haywood County Tourism Development Authority and the county board of commissioners both unanimously approved the idea of a hike in the lodging tax — from the cur4 rent rate of 4 percent to 6 percent. The Maggie
chants and encourages others to do so as well. Gale Roberson joined the Downtown Waynesville Association board of directors in 2004 to keep up with the goings-on among neighboring merchants and help improve Main Street. As a town alderman, LeRoy Roberson has supported projects that beautified Main Street and brought more people downtown, including renovating the old town hall, constructing a new town hall and creating the Waynesville Public Art Commission, which led to several art installations that currently decorate Main Street. Although many improvements have been made to Main Street, there is always room for more. For the Robersons, the main, and perhaps only, downside to downtown is parking. A parking deck was built just down the street, but the couple said they wish there was more on-street parking and have heard comments from patients struggling to finds a spot near the doctor’s office during the busy tourist season. “That is a drawback,” Gale Roberson said. But both would much rather be on Main Street than elsewhere. “It’s so much nicer,” Gale Roberson said. Originally, they planned to open Haywood Optometric Care in a medical complex in Clyde but chose to setup shop on Main Street in Waynesville instead. And looking back, they are glad they did. “It’s more entertaining being on Main Street,” LeRoy Roberson said. In a medical complex, people come for one thing — an appointment. The traffic is a steady flow of patients. But Main Street today is a tourism hub, attracting lots of thru-traffic. People will drop in to buy a pair of sunglasses or have their glasses repaired. The location also exposes the doctor’s office and glasses shop to more potential customers. Rather than relying on people to find his business in the Yellow Pages or online, Haywood Optometric Care has a steady stream of people flowing past its door. “I get a different type of business,” LeRoy Roberson said. Plus, it makes for great people watching, and the couple can easily take their lunch break at one of downtown Main Street’s many eateries.
allow Haywood County to raise its lodging tax. However, the increase will not occur automatically even with the passage of the legislation in Raleigh. The county commissioners would have to hold a public hearing and formally enact the increase. Throughout the meeting, speakers insisted that the tourism authority nail down projects that the additional tax money could fund and how it would distribute the money. “We need a marketing plan; we need to know where it’s going,” Martin said. However, members of the tourism board and Mayor Ron DeSimone countered calls for a predetermined plan for how the money would be spent. The county should not draft guidelines and to-do lists for money it doesn’t have, he said. “You might be making a plan for something you can’t implement,” agreed Rob Edwards, a tourism authority board member and Maggie lodging owner. When the county upped its lodging tax from 3 to 4 percent several
Where they stand
What’s the room tax?
A 4 percent tax added to guests’ bills staying at hotels, motels, B&Bs and vacation rentals brings in $900,000 a year, which goes toward tourism promotions and initiatives aimed at luring even more tourists to the county. A 2 percent increase would bring in an extra $450,000 annually, specifically for tourism-related capital projects.
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Smoky Mountain News
years ago, the legislation dialed in on the process for divvying up and parceling out the money among geographic locales in the county and even set up a system of subcommittees to help oversee the money. However, Lynn Collins, executive director of the Haywood tourism authority, said there were still unknowns that were hammered out after the bill was passed, such as how to apply for the new money and more specifics about what it might fund. “Each of the communities did not have a plan for that money,” Collins said. “It sat there and built up until people figured out what it was for.” Speaker after speaker Monday said they did not believe that Maggie Valley was getting back what it contributes to the tourism authority. Maggie Valley’s motels, hotels and vacation rentals account for 55 percent of the total lodging tax collected in Haywood County. And thus Maggie should get back a greater share to spend in its own neck of the woods, on tourism initiatives that would specifically help Maggie, lodging owners argued. “It would be a fair team if we were all bringing the same amount to the table,” said Tammy Wight, a Maggie lodging owner. “Why do we want to give other people control of our percentage?” Maggie at one time was the tourism kingpin of the county and accounted for two-thirds of the total lodging tax revenue countywide. But Maggie has slipped, while Waynesville has gained during recent years. “We are actually losing percentage. We are not growing; we are dropping,” said TDA board member Beth Brown, adding that Maggie residents and business owners need to think about more than just the town. “We are not just Maggie Valley; we are Haywood County.”
The Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen will weigh in on the proposed 2 percent lodging tax increase on Thursday (Feb. 28). Haywood County Commissioners and the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority have unanimously supported the increase already, but it must be approved by the N.C. General Assembly. While no other towns had officially weighed in as of press time Tuesday, the tourism-centric community of Maggie is the only one where major opposition seems to be brewing. Maggie Aldermen Mike Matthews said he would support the tax increase if it has a sunset clause and if the committee that decides how the money is spent has geographically proportional representation. The part of the county that brings in the most revenue from the tax should have the biggest voice on the committee. “I want to say, ‘I am for it if’ …’” Matthews said. Alderwoman Saralyn Price and Mayor Ron DeSimone both voiced their support for the measure. Alderman Phillip Wight wanted more time to mull over the TDA’s proposed tax increase, so the board agreed to revisit the matter at its 9 a.m. budget meeting on Thursday at town hall.
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ANDREW KASPER STAFF WRITER he far-flung Nantahala School in the remote reaches of Macon County is putting a financial drain on local coffers, prompting county leaders to ask the state for extra money to cover the cost of operating such an isolated school. Nantahala School goes from kindergarten to 12th grade but has only about 100 students. The small student population makes for small class sizes — some grades with as few as five students. The cost of running Nantahala School comes out to $9,600 per student, with at at least one teacher per grade, plus a principal. “It’s a great school,” said Macon County School District Superintendant Jim Duncan. “But, certainly no other school costs that much to operate.” By comparison, Franklin High School comes out to about $4,700 per student. In Highlands School — which is also a K-12 school in Macon County — it costs just more than $6,000 per student to run. Nantahala School is one of the last of its kind. Nestled in the Nantahala National Forest, it is one of only three remaining K12 schools in the state — a modern rendering of the extinct, one-room school house. It also touts of graduation rate of 100 percent during the past few years, which may be expected of a school where a typical class size is six or seven students. That makes Nantahala very expensive to operate. It simply doesn’t have the critical mass of students to secure adequate state funding. The state uses a rigid school funding formula — one that assumes much larger class sizes than Nantahala has. The state kicks in enough money to hire one teacher for every 18 to 31 students, depending on the grade. When it comes to Nantahala, with far fewer students per class, the district doesn’t get enough state funding to cover each teacher’s salary, leaving the county to subsidize the remaining portion. County leaders are working with Sen. Jim Davis, R-Macon, to introduce a state bill that would make an exception for Nantahala School in the state funding formula. Duncan said if Nantahala were to be solely state funded, it would have seven teachers for all 12 grades, not the 13 it currently has, and only one or two high school teachers — a scenario, he said, is not realistic, academically speaking. Pupils in Nantahala are required to pass the same statewide exams other students take. “You wouldn’t have very much,” Duncan said. “Maybe some English and social studies and combined math and science, anything else would go by the wayside.” The county contributes between $260,000 and $275,000 a year to round out the $1 million
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Isolated and remote, Macon spends a pretty penny to keep Nantahala School afloat
or so budget for Nantahala School. Macon County lawmakers have consolidated some schools in recent years, combining smaller rural schools into single larger ones for efficiency purposes. However, shipping students from Nantahala, at the far northern corner of the county, to another school in the county isn’t practical, requiring a hour-drive one way. “We’ve got isolation issues,” Duncan said, “You just can’t pick up kids that early and transfer them down the Wayah Bald Mountain and then back up there.” The drain of Nantahala School is exacerbating the budget crisis Macon is seeing throughout the entire school district. Macon Schools will need $2.2 million from the county in the coming fiscal year to avoid cuts. Duncan said additional state funds for Nantahala School could help chip away at that figure. Davis’ bill will provide adequate state funding for one teacher per grade for Nantahala
Nantahala School is one of the last of its kind. Nestled in the Nantahala National Forest, it is one of only three remaining K-12 schools in the state — a modern rendering of the extinct, one-room school house.
School due to its remote location, exempting the school from the formula used elsewhere across the state. Its chances are unknown in this time of lean fiscal conservatism in Raleigh. The bill will have to successfully wiggle its way through two or more committees and a series of votes of approval by lawmakers. Two years ago, a similar bill was introduced that never made it to the floor, but Davis is optimistic. “The budget is tight,” Davis. “But you’ll never get it unless you ask.” One point of friction for Davis and Duncan is that there is already a law on the books that creates an exception for Ocracoke School because of its remote island location on the Outer Banks. Ocracoke is the other K12 in North Carolina — aside from the Nantahala and Highlands schools in Macon. Davis said that bill was pushed through by former state Sen. Mark Basnight, a powerhouse in state politics who hailed from the coast. “All we’re saying is that if the state is giving one teacher per grade level to Ocracoke, why wouldn’t the same formula apply to schools in the western part of the state,” Duncan said.
Haywood flips for ‘Pancake Day’
pursuing a college degree in a related field of study. The scholarships are in memory of Charlie and MaryAnn Way, longtime volunteers and advocates of “Pancake Day.” “It lets people come out in the dreary winter, and today was certainly was a tough one with the weather,” said patron Karen Macke. Despite the rain, innumerable patrons began to trickle in, waving to a friend, relative or neighbor already sitting down, then immediately making a move for the grill line. “Hello” is a friendly word that continuously ricochets around the gymnasium with each new entry. “You’re late, man,” someone teased to
“Rain or shine, people know that the fourth Tuesday of February is ‘Pancake Day.’ People I don’t see but once a year come out for this.” — Steve Brown, “Pancake Day” organizer
The First United Methodist Church in Waynesville celebrated its 56th Annual “Pancake Day” on Feb. 26. For the last 25 years, Woody Griffin (left) has been the “designated buckwheat pancake cooker.” Garret K. Woodward photo “It has survived like the tradition of the Tuscola/Pisgah football game,” Brown smiled. “Rain or shine, people know that the fourth Tuesday of February is ‘Pancake Day.’ People I don’t see but once a year come out for this.” In its inaugural year, the group raised $500. Last year, proceeds were upwards of $22,000. More than 3,000 people chowed down on syrup-laden stacks of pancakes, bacon and sausage throughout the day at the bargain price of $7 per adult. The money raised goes towards funding church endeavors, building maintenance and endowment scholarships for people who are either going into the missionary or are
‘Pancake Day’ by the numbers* Attendance ...............................3,000-plus Proceeds ...............................$22,000-plus Pancake mix............................580 pounds Bacon......................................510 pounds Sausage ..................................415 pounds Butter......................................160 pounds Syrup.........................................55 pounds Coffee........................................34 pounds Milk.......................................1,820.5 pints * Numbers from 2012 event
Feb. 27-March 5, 2013 Smoky Mountain News
BY GARRET K. WOODWARD STAFF WRITER It’s 6:15 a.m., and Woody Griffin is ready. “It’s the calm before the storm,” he chuckled. Griffin is manning one of the many griddles during the 56th annual “Pancake Day” at the First United Methodist Church in Waynesville Tuesday. For the last 25 years, he has been the “designated buckwheat pancake cooker.” “This is a community event that’s more than just pancakes,” he said. “Everyone enjoys coming out and being a part of this. It is important for a small town.” As more than 200 volunteers from the church’s congregation await the hungry masses, there’s a real storm outside. But a heavy downpour of rain doesn’t seem to dampen the spirits of these breakfast masters. The show has begun, and it won’t stop until way into Tuesday evening. “This really brings together the church and the community,” said Steve Brown, one of the head organizers. “It involves so many people, and they look forward to it every year. It’s unbelievable how this has become such a communitywide mission project for us.” What started in 1957 as a pledge campaign to pay for the construction of an educational wing at the church has evolved into a yearly celebration that seems to not only cure cabin fever but also fill the bellies of any within whiff.
another, though the doors opened just minutes ago. A few tables down, Erin Patton has attended the event for more than a decade. A chef herself, she likes how food brings together a community. “The food is delicious, and I don’t have to cook this morning,” she laughed. Nearby, 11-year-old Emma Leichssenring was all smiles. “I really like the bacon,” she said reaching for another piece. Soon, streams of elementary children stepped up to the line. Their eyes were as large as the pancakes themselves. They held up their plates, eager to consume as much of their favorites foods as they could muster. “Take all you want; we don’t want you to go hungry now,” said one of the volunteers behind the grill. Back in the kitchen, volunteer Ron Leatherwood was wading through endless trays of bacon. Born and raised in the church, he’s been to every “Pancake Day” since its inception. As a child, he remembers the old cramped quarters where everyone seemed to be stepping on top of each other. Since then, the large gymnasium and full-sized kitchen are optimum for the growing tradition. “‘Pancake Day’ is truly the essence of a community, where people work together, see their friends, make new ones and celebrate,” he said.
Thousands of Haywood County residents partook in “Pancake Day.” In 2012, more than 3,000 people attended the event. Garret K. Woodward photo
news Feb. 27-March 5, 2013 Smoky Mountain News 8
Wireless internet beamed into rural areas solves high-speed service conundrum BY ANDREW KASPER STAFF WRITER Jackson County could be going from zero to high-speed in no time. Two internet providers are laying plans to beam wireless internet into rural and remote reaches of Jackson — areas that until now have been underserved when it comes to high-speed internet access. “What we try to do is light up communities where they don’t have any other choices,” said Judy Chapman, manager of Dnet Internet services based in Macon County. Wireless has emerged recently as an answer to the “last mile” challenge rural areas face with high-speed internet access. Often, there simply aren’t enough customers per mile to make it worthwhile for cable, fiber or DSL companies to run their infrastructure into remote areas. “They require density per mile or else they won’t build that out,” said Andrea Robel, CEO and president of Vistanet, the other high-speed wireless internet provider planning forays into Jackson. “It is extremely expensive.” The higher one goes up the hollow, away from the city, the more likely it is that the service is nonexistent or inadequate. But beaming high-speed wireless internet through the air can be done with antennas and relays — far cheaper than running miles of cable to reach a smattering of houses — and is now seen as a financially viable business proposition by internet providers like Dnet and Vistanet. In fact, it seems a sort of wireless arms race is emerging in Western North Carolina, to tap into those customers, and at the same time bring them a service that is hard to come by. For some residents in Jackson County, unreliable Internet is a way of life. Mary Jo Cobb, a 74-year-old resident of rural Tuckasegee, said when her Internet goes out, it reminds her of the old days in the mountains, watching television with her father when the screen would fade to snow because a squirrel or a stick interfered with the signal. “That’s how I feel at times, I feel like there
must be a squirrel on the line,” Cobb said. “That’s how we have to do it in Tuckasegee.” But for others, such as her neighbor Thomas Crowe, a writer who works from a home office, having reliable Internet is essential for his livelihood. He said his service, provided over his phone line, fluctuates between tolerable and non-existent. And when it’s nonexistent, sometimes, it’s only a matter or minutes before the neighbors start calling and surveying as to whom still has a connection. Crowe described the service as sporadic. “Sometimes it’s very slow to the point you can’t even tolerate it,” Crowe said. “Sometimes there is no Internet and a little thing pops up and says ‘sorry can’t connect right now.’” However, according to a recent report by the Federal Communications Commission, the neighbors in Tuckasegee are some of the lucky ones to even have Internet. There are 19 million Americans without high-speed
High-speed wireless comes to rural Haywood Vistanet has begun offering high-speed Internet service in rural areas of Haywood County that until now, have had few if any option on the high-speed internet front. From Fines Creek to Lake Logan, the company is reaching rural areas by beaming wireless internet signals from towers. To find out if it is available in your area, contact 855.847.8200 or 828.348.5366 or vistanet.co.
online survey, gathering Internet speed tests and personal accounts of Internet accessibility to build an accurate map of Internet coverage in the region. About 200 people have replied to the survey, and Bowen said some speed tests reveal that what is billed as high-speed Internet — a standard set by the FCC — may not actually meet the standard. (To take the survey, go to www.main.nc.us/bbmap.) Often the connection is fast at downloading information but not at uploading data. That distinction may make the service adequate for the “You can’t operate a business casual surfer but inadequate for someone attempting to competitively if you’re not able to work from home and upload send large files. If you can’t upload, large files. “You can’t operate a busithen you’re just a receiver not a ness competitively if you’re producer.” not able to send large files,” Bowen said. “If you can’t — Wally Bowen, Mountain Area upload, then you’re just a Information Network founder receiver not a producer.” The Internet is not only a access, and about 50,000 residents in 16 matter of convenience. As the Internet has WNC counties, according to the FCC. (The become a tool of everyday life, connecting number doesn’t include satellite service, people to it, also connects them to basic services and economic and educational which can be an option but is costly.) But that number is drastically underesti- opportunities. “We need to focus on solving the last-mile mated, according to Wally Bowen, founder and executive director of the nonprofit problem,” Bowen said. “That’s our primary Mountain Area Information Network. The focus.” FCC’s estimate is based on information filed by telephone and cable internet service NET S PLAN providers. “What the companies report to the FCC Dnet is a major player in the internet doesn’t square with what’s on the ground,” provider landscape in the far western counBowen said. “Preliminary evidence is that what ties, and now hopes to grow its footprint in the carriers are telling the FCC is exaggerated.” Jackson County with wireless service. Dnet To test their claims, Bowen has started an is already offering wireless Internet in some
Waynesville to create new historic preservation guidelines A public meeting to discuss the benefits of historic preservation and proposed design guidelines for Waynesville’s historic districts will be held at 7 p.m., March 6, in the new town hall. Nationally renowned historic preservation consultant Philip Thomason of Thomason and Associates will talk about the creation of design guidelines for historic building alterations. Thomason’s presentation will feature a slide show of successful historic building renovations and the role design guidelines play in promoting successful historic preservation efforts.
This program will kick-off a design guidelines development project for Waynesville. 828.456.2004 or planning@TownofWaynesville.org.
MedWest-Haywood plans series of community focus groups MedWest-Haywood will host a series of community focus groups the first week in March to hear current perceptions of the hospital from Haywood County residents. “This will be an important step in finding out where we’re
parts of Macon and Graham counties. Dnet’s first foray into high-speed wireless internet service in Jackson could be up and running in March with a high-speed, wireless Internet transmitter on a tower it acquired on King’s Mountain. The King’s Mountain tower was initially controlled by Metrostat, a small internet provider in Sylva that also had a network of fiber optic lines. But Metrostat failed a year ago and the infrastructure was sold off — a process that took about a year to see through. “We’ve been trying to move on this for some time,” Chapman said. Under Metrostat, only one customer was using the high-speed internet signal beamed out by the King’s Mountain tower. Dnet hopes to get more customers on the tower. Chapman expects the tower on King’s Mountain to be just the first of many in Jackson County.
Close on Dnet’s heels is a company hoping to provide similar wireless service. The startup company Vistanet just began offering high-speed wireless internet service in parts of Haywood County. It hopes to begin putting up towers in Swain and Jackson counties as soon as mid-summer, said Robel. First, however, Robel wants to know where the demand is so the company can strategically locate its antennae’s that will relay the wireless Internet. Robel is asking anyone potentially interested in high-speed wireless internet service participate in a survey on their web site. “The more people we get signed up there, the faster we get out there,” Robel said.
meeting our residents’ needs and where we’re not. This level of transparency is essential in gathering input, both positive and constructive, so we can serve our community,” said Janie Sinacore-Jaberg, president and CEO of MedWest-Haywood. Participants will receive a handheld device and ask general, multiple-choice questions about their experience and expectations of their local hospital. The groups will be held at a number of locations including Waynesville, Canton, Maggie Valley and Clyde. Session size will be limited to 15 to 20 participants in each group. Each session will last 90 minutes. To sign up for one, contact 828.631.8889 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CLEANING • RELINING CAPS • REPAIR Make CHIMNEY CLEANING a Regular Part of Your Seasonal Maintenance!
BY ANDREW KASPER STAFF WRITER Quality Service Since 1979
SYLVA: 828.586.6904 CASHIERS: 828.743.2660 FRANKLIN & HIGHLANDS: 828.524.9910
Call today and ask how you can save money on your energy bills with services like these: New Windows Energy Audits Air Sealing & Insulation
Let’s Celebrate! GRAND OPENING PROFESSIONAL ARTS & CRAFTS/ INSTRUCTIONAL FACILITY
Friday, March 1, 2013 The public is invited to join the festivities. 11 a.m.
Feb. 27-March 5, 2013
Dedication Ceremony HCC Auditorium
12:15 p.m. Ribbon Cutting Top Main Entrance, Professional Arts & Crafts/Instructional Facility
Other Activities include dedication of
Mary Cornwell Gallery, self-guided tours, demonstrations and hands-on activities, a guest lecture and video history of the program.
Exhibition: Featuring artists from over 5 decades of alumni
Smoky Mountain News
Sylva and Jackson County are at an impasse on the creation of a single Alcoholic Beverage Control board to run the existing liquor store in Sylva and a new one proposed in Cashiers. Sylva currently has the only liquor store in Jackson County. But the county plans to open a new store in Cashiers following last year’s ballot measure approving countywide alcohol sales. The town and county were going to join forces and operate both stores in concert and share the profits, but have been unable to agree on the details. Sylva leaders fear the start-up costs and overhead of a new store could make Cashiers a drain rather than a boon. They want a guarantee that the reliable revenue from their store won’t be compromised — and want to isolate themselves from any losses incurred by the Cashiers store. “Protecting Sylva’s budget would be my main concern,” said Town Manager Paige Roberson. “And that protects the services for the taxpayers of Sylva.” Jackson County proposed a 60-40 profit-sharing arrangement in the county’s favor. But Sylva wants a profit floor the town would be guaranteed of not dipping below. Specifically, Sylva leaders want to ensure they would get at least $176,000 a year — which is the average annual profit it’s gotten over the past five years. That figure would serve as the baseline for five years, but after that the town wanted to use a consumer price index formula to adjust Sylva’s guaranteed minimum “take” going forward. “That was pretty much the stopping point in the negotiations during our last meeting,” Roberson said. The two parties have met several times since January. But as of now, it looks as if the county will form its own ABC board in March and forge ahead with opening a Cashiers store. There is still the possibility of the town and county ABC boards merging in the future, said County Manager Chuck Wooten. Wooten, who was in on negotiations, said commissioners were willing to guarantee Sylva a minimum profit based on its average earnings over past years. But the idea of attaching a consumer price index to guarantee profits indefinitely into the future didn’t seem appropriate. “We felt like it would just be best to leave it as it is,” he said. “That doesn’t mean there won’t be an opportunity to merge in the future.” A Cashiers store could cut into Sylva’s market share. Currently, Sylva splits 50 percent of its profits with the county, an arrangement written into state legislation establishing Sylva’s ABC board in the 1960s. If Jackson opens a store in Cashiers, the county would get all the profits from Cashiers and 50 percent of Sylva’s profits — unless Sylva manages to get the profit-sharing arrangement undone. Roberson said the only way to do that is by consent of both the town and the county, or petition the N.C. General Assembly to amend the original legislation. However, she said, the town has not explored that option as of yet.
Sylva and Jackson County can’t agree on joint ABC venture
For more information:
Please call 828-627-4522 or visit www.haywood.edu 9
Cork and Bean expansion boosts downtown Bryson dining scene
Scott Mastej posed outside Cork and Bean earlier this month as workers continued to transform the coffeehouse and wine bar into a local restaurant and gathering place. Caitlin Bowling photo
BY CAITLIN BOWLING STAFF WRITER hen a building on a town’s main street sits empty, either because a business closed down or moved away, it’s usually a bad omen. But when the Byrson City office of the Employment Security Commission vacated its prime location in the heart of downtown last year, the empty storefront was a blessing for the owners of the neighboring coffee and wine shop Cork and Bean. Co-owners Scott Mastej and Ron LaRocque wanted to expand ever since they first opened about three years ago. “I think we wanted to do it from the day we started,” Mastej said. “We would not have been able to do it without this space next door.” For the last two months, the downtown favorite has been closed for a major interior expansion, including knocking out a portion of the wall that once separated it from the next door building to create a new restaurant space. Thankfully, the two buildings were once connected in the past, making the tear down relatively easy. A small, brick hall connects the two sides, which both feature lots of hardwood and medieval-looking, black metal light fixtures. The pair has commissioned a local artisan to create two specialty wood signs. Both will read “Cheers y’all” and tell patrons which room they are about to enter — either the dining room or gathering room. “It’s those little things,” Mastej said. “We were able to put personality into it.” The new side of Cork and Bean will be a full-service restaurant, offering the sweet and savory crepes that the shop is known for as well as more hearty menu items. Mastej said that the menu will likely change often and depend on what the chef and other kitchen staff feel inspired to make. “We have given them the creative license,” Mastej said, adding that everything will feature “fresh, local, organic ingredients.” The addition of a full kitchen will allow them to make menu items that they couldn’t previously, due to limited space for kitchen
Smoky Mountain News
Feb. 27-March 5, 2013
Coming in March Cork and Bean in Bryson City will reopen next week. The coffee and wine bar has expanded its downtown Everett Street location, adding a full-service restaurant, more employees and a wider variety of drink options. 828.488.1934. equipment, which included only a microwave and crepe griddles. “Customers have requested new and different things, and we could not do that without a kitchen,” Mastej said. The old side of Cork and Bean has received its own remodeling. The coffee counter was replaced with a bar, and patrons can order up light fare, a coffee drink or alcohol beverages. Cork and Bean previously offered bottled beers and wine, but it will now include a full-service bar with a bartender serving up everything from glasses of wine to locally brewed beers to cocktails. Mastej and LaRocque are also looking into the possibility of having music of the singer-songwriter variety. The pair has gone all-out to upgrade their business, even driving as far a Pennsylvania for furniture. The hickory chairs that customers will sit in are Amish-made. LaRocque had to go through a non-Amish middleman to place and pick-up his order. Because the Amish can’t use phones, some businessmen will hire a non-Amish person to take phone calls for them, rather than relaying on handwritten, mailed messages back and forth. “It was the hardest thing ever,” Mastej said, but the chairs are “definitely something special.” While Cork and Bean previously fit about 35 seated customers, the new expansion made space to seat between 85 and 90 people. Not only has Cork and Bean expanding spatially, but it has also more than doubled its employees. When it temporarily closed in early January, the coffee and wine shop had eight employees. When they reopen, the staff will boast 10 new workers.
In terms of impact on Cherokee, Indian Health Services will take the hardest hit.
Kim Peone, chief financial officer for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, gave Tribal Council members and overview of how federal sequestration will affect the tribe earlier this month. Caitlin Bowling photo
Indian Health Services helps fund the Cherokee Indian Hospital and the tribe’s diabetes program, among other health services. The Eastern Band expected to get $26.9 million from IHS this year — more than half the tribe’s total federal funding. But Cherokee’s federal health funding could decline by $1.3 million under sequestration. “It could be very, very difficult for this community to respond to such a deep, deep cut,” said Casey Cooper, CEO of the Cherokee Indian Hospital. The hospital already has a list of services that it hopes to expand with the construction of a new hospital building, but the decrease in federal funds could force leaders to reduce the services it already offers — let alone expand. “It’s going to adversely impact the amount of care we can provide,” Cooper said. “We would have to scale back the scope of services we provide.” Cherokee Indian Hospital may also have to eliminate jobs to offset the cuts, though Cooper would not say if the hospital plans to lay anyone off yet. The hospital has some reserves but not enough to keep it running without evaluating how to cut its current operational costs. The loss of funds would affect enrolled members’ access to medication, primary care and specialty care, Cooper said. Sequestration also will significantly affect
Register your Relay For Life team today The West Haywood chapter of the American Cancer Society is signing up teams for its annual Relay For Life event in May. Relay For Life events are held overnight as individuals and
the tribe’s diabetes program, Cooper said. The program is part of a national special diabetes program for Native Americans, who have higher rates of the disease due to genetic predisposition. According to numbers from the Cherokee Indian Hospital, nearly 22 percent of enrolled tribal members have diabetes, whereas nationally only about 8 percent of Americans are diabetic. The Eastern Band receives about $1.5 million a year for its diabetes program, and while a 5.1 percent budget reduction would only mean a $76,500 cut, that could mean that fewer educational materials are available. Cooper said his biggest worry is how the sequestration will affect people’s daily lives, and thereby their health. “I would be more concerned about the impact on cultural determinants,” Cooper said. Unemployment and low education and low capital are “large determinations in the health of a population.” Cooper emphasized that the Indian Health Services is not a fattened pig in terms of funding. “With the Indian Health Services, we are already talking about an agency that has proven to be severely underfunded,” Cooper said. “We are not talking about a plush agency.” A 2003 study by the independent, bipar-
teams camp out with the goal of keeping at least one team member on the track or pathway at all times. Teams do most of their fundraising prior to the event, but some teams also hold creative fundraisers at their campsites during Relay. Relay brings together friends, families, businesses, hospitals, schools and faith-based groups aimed at furthering the American Cancer Society’s efforts to save lives by helping people
Tribal leaders had lobbied the federal government to exempt IHS from the impacts of sequestration. Medicare, Medicaid, veterans’ programs, food stamps, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and child nutrition programs are immune from sequestration — so why not Indian Health also? “We just basically said, ‘It was logical that it would be coupled in with these exemptions,’” Peone said. But, IHS is still on the chopping block, as is funding for Cherokee’s Head Start program and the tribe’s department of transportation. Those three receive the largest federal appropriations. Cherokee DOT receives $4.8 million a year and will face a $246,000 cut. Head Start gets about $2.7 million annually. Therefore, a 5.1 percent cut would translate to $137,000. Each division, which oversees the programs facing cuts, will be responsible individually for figuring out how to offset them. However, the tribe’s finance office may place a moratorium on discretionary spending. “If this were to come into play, we probably would go into another cost containment. Maybe,” Peone said. “And it may not be tribal wide, it may be something in reference to the programs it affects.” While the tangible cuts to the tribe’s budget are worrisome, the Eastern Band, and towns and cities around the U.S., will also feel the side effects of the sequestration on the economy. “Whatever happens on a national level affects our economy, and then that economy trickles down to who we are locally,” Peone said. “If the market bounced, the play at the casino bounced.” Reports from national media have warned that the cuts at the federal level will result higher unemployment rates, prevent some needy families from getting necessary help, cause delays at airports and eliminate national park programs, among other ramifications. “It will cause a wave of pain,” Peone said.
stay well, by helping them get well, find cures and fight back. The theme for this year’s event is Hero’s of Courage. The next team captain meeting will be held at the Lake Junaluska Visitor Center at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12. Dinner and drinks will be provided. Relay will take place from 6 p.m. May 10 until 6 a.m. May 11 at Maggie Valley Festival Grounds. www.RelayForLife.org/westhaywoodnc or 828.254.6931.
Smoky Mountain News
HEALTH CARE SEES BIGGEST HIT
NO RESPITE IN SIGHT
Feb. 27-March 5, 2013
BY CAITLIN BOWLING STAFF WRITER he Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians could see an estimated $2.2 million evaporate from its budget in March if Congress does not reach an agreement on the federal budget and mandatory, across-theboard cuts of 5.1 percent known as sequestration kick in. The threat of sequestration was supposed to be an incentive for divisive lawmakers to come to an agreement on where to rein in spending and where to raise additional revenue. The history of indecision and schism in Washington has tribal financiers expecting and planning for the worst. “Having gone to D.C., it sounds like it’s likely,” said Kim Peone, chief financial officer for the Eastern Band. Peone added that given her position, she errs on the side of caution rather than hoping that something won’t happen, whereas a politician may have the opposite mentality. The Eastern Band receives about $43.7 million from the federal government each year to fund various programs and departments, meaning the 5.1 percent cut would translate to $2.2 million. Many programs and departments typically funded by state government elsewhere in North Carolina are federally funded on the reservation — from road building to subsidized preschool for low-income families. The threat of sequestration felt like a slap in the face to Peone, who said the budget year started off positive. This fiscal year, the tribe had lifted cost containment measures it had in put in place previously to ride out the recession. “Here we are thinking we are on a good course, and we continue to be challenged by variables that we don’t have control over,” Peone said. She cited not only federal cuts but the closure of U.S. 441 through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park after a landslide in January, which could put a dent in casino revenue the tribe relies on. “It’s going to be impactful, and it’s a daunting thought to think, ‘Oh my God, we are going to have to go back to the drawing table,’” Peone said.
With sequestration threat looming, Eastern Band preps for the worst
tisan U.S. Commission on Civil Rights showed that IHS was underfunded by at least 41 percent. “The federal government spends less per capita on Native American health care than on any other group for which it has this responsibility, including Medicaid recipients, prisoners, veterans, and military personnel,” the report stated. Under President Barack Obama, IHS made positive strides, receiving increased allocations. But now, the department is facing cuts. “This is going to be such a setback,” Cooper said. “That is what is so catastrophic about it.”
A match made in heaven? Lake Junaluska a good news
Waynesville Mayor Gavin Brown has honed his dating and engagement analogies as town leaders weigh whether to tie the knot with Lake Junaluska. They started innocently enough 10 months ago. “All we are doing now is talking on the phone and holding hands,” Brown said last summer, when the so-called courtship began. But the discourse has grown downright steamy recently. If Waynesville and Lake Junaluska decide to get hitched, state lawmakers must consecrate the union. And with a mid-March legislative deadline bearing down to get a bill introduced in Raleigh, town leaders decided it was high time to start writing the vows. “We need to at least reserve a wedding chapel,” Brown said two weeks ago. Brown, for one, seems smitten and doesn’t want to look back at Junaluska as the one that got away. “They may marry someone An ongoing series in The Smoky else,” Brown warned. Or perhaps Mountain News is exploring the decide to stay a spinster forever. future path of Lake Junaluska. Before Lake Junaluska can Last week, the 765-home compromise its hand, however, it munity surrounding the campus of needs the blessing of its extended the Methodist Conference and family: a task force, a community Retreat Center weighed the pros council and board of directors to and cons of being absorbed by the be exact. town of Waynesville. But the clock is ticking. A doThis week, Waynesville leaders or-die date to file for the necesconsider whether they want to take sary legislation with Raleigh lawon Junaluska. makers is just two weeks away. So In coming weeks, read about the Waynesville leaders were expected pending votes by decision-making to take the plunge this week — bodies, Raleigh’s role in approving a even though Lake Junaluska merger, and a major campus master hasn’t officially spoken up on the plan being undertaken by Lake subject of its own betrothal. Junaluska Conference and Retreat “We may have to ask their Center. hand in marriage before they say they want to get married,” Brown said. But Brown pointed out the wedding can be called off up to the last minute, even if a merger bill is already working its way through the halls of the legislature. “If we get engaged, that doesn’t mean we have to get married. If things turn up, like if an asteroid hits the dam,” Brown joked, “we can probably get out.” Inevitably, Brown’s relentless references to marriage prompted others to adopt the framework as well. “To use the mayor’s analogy of marriage, no marriage works unless both parties spend a lot of time and effort making it work, and that’s what we’ll need to do for this union,” said Pat Mayer, a Waynesville resident who has lived both in town and at Lake Junaluska over the years. Mayer then offered her opinion as matchmaker. “I want to say to Lake Junaluska, ‘Waynesville is a unique place to live and call home.’ I want to say Waynesville, ‘Lake Junaluska has a great deal to offer this town,’” Mayer said. Indeed, the mutual admiration was flowing last week as leaders from the two entities came to the table for a series of prenuptial talks. “Whatever comes of this we want you to know how grateful we are for this partnership we have been in, not only in the past but right now as we explore this opportunity,” Jack Ewing, the CEO of Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, told town leaders at a recent meeting. The feeling is reciprocal, according to longtime former Waynesville Mayor Henry Foy. “I want (Lake Junaluska) to know how much we appreciate them and how much they have meant to Waynesville,” Foy told Ewing in response. Waynesville leaders believe Lake Junaluska would be a good catch. “It will be a win-win for both communities,” Waynesville Town Manager Marcy Onieal said. Ewing, not wanting to speak out of turn before his extended family formally offers Junaluska’s hand, would only say that Lake Junaluska leaders are taking “a serious look at the possibility.” “So in other words I need to go find a wedding chapel?” Brown asked “We have one available,” Ewing quipped. — Becky Johnson 12
Smoky Mountain News
Feb. 27-March 5, 2013
Lake Junaluska at a crossroads: continuing coverage
catch for Waynesville, but light on the dowry BY B ECKY JOHNSON STAFF WRITER dding Lake Junaluska to its town limits won’t be a windfall for Waynesville despite $775,000 in property taxes it stands to gain each year. Likewise, Junaluska wouldn’t be a financial drain on the town, according to the results of a highly anticipated engineering and feasibility study outlining the pros and cons of a merger. The findings of the $60,000 study commissioned by the town of Waynesville were released last week. On one hand, Waynesville would face $10 million in water, sewer and street repairs at Lake Junaluska over the coming decade if the town absorbed the 765-home community into its town limits. “If you look at the hard numbers you’re going, ‘Oh that’s an ugly pig,’” Mayor Gavin Brown said. But Brown said there’s more to the equation than that. “This is not about today, it is not even about this time next year. Ten years from now, 15 years from now, we will be a stronger community because of it,” Brown said of a merger. Waynesville Town Manager Marcy Onieal agreed. “I think the benefit is the intangible. We are getting a population of professional, very engaged, civic-minded people,” Onieal said of Junaluska’s residents. If not for the $10 million in infrastructure repairs Lake Junaluska needs, the bottom line looks a like a boon for Waynesville. The town would see a $4 million net gain over the next decade thanks to the additional revenue Lake Junaluska would bring in. “The town would have more critical mass to operate from and the economies of scale would benefit the town as a whole,” Brown said. Even after hiring an additional 10 or so town employees to provide services at Lake Junaluska — including garbage collectors, street workers, police officers and public works staff — the town would still see a bottom line gain of $4 million over the next decade. “They are cheap to take care of. They don’t have a lot of trash problems. They don’t have a lot of fights police have to break up,” Brown said.
STUDY CONFIRMS BENEFITS OF MERGER Waynesville’s intuitive hunch all along was that Lake Junaluska would be a financial boon, but town leaders have been holding out for a more definitive and concrete analysis from a study conducted by Martin-McGill Associates, an engineering and consulting firm out of Asheville. “Bigger picture, longer term, bringing those two communities together just makes sense,” Jessica Lang, a consultant with McGill Associates, told town leaders when presenting the study’s findings at a meeting last week. When viewed in broad strokes, that might be true. But the picture isn’t so rosy if you consider the hit Waynesville would take in the water and sewer arena. Factor in losses on the water and sewer side, and Lake Junaluska goes from being a cash cow for Waynesville to a break-even proposition. Lake Junaluska needs $3.8 million in street repairs and $5.6 million in repairs to its aging water and sewer lines, according to the study. Waynesville already has $20 to $25 million of water and sewer repairs and upgrades on its own long-range to-do list. The town doesn’t bring in enough in water and sewer fees from customers to pay for the repairs it already needs, let alone taking on the burden of additional repairs needed to Lake Junaluska’s lines. Brown said an increase in water and sewer fees is inevitable, regardless of whether Lake Junaluska is added to the town. “We would have to do that to maintain our own system whether Junaluska came in or not,” Onieal agreed. Waynesville shouldn’t be scared off by Junaluska’s estimated water and sewer line repairs, however, according to Lang. “The numbers look daunting, but the level of need over there is not abnormal. This is pretty normal,” Lang said. Communities across American are grappling with aging water and sewer systems in need of costly modernization. More importantly, the town can put off some of the $5.6 million of water and sewer repairs and $3.6 million in street repairs on the 10-year to-do list for
Lake Junaluska by the numbers ■ $190 million: total value of property at Lake Junaluska added to Waynesville’s tax base ■ $775,000: property taxes Waynesville would collect annually from Lake Junaluska at current tax rate and property values ■ $4 million: cumulative profit in Waynesville’s operational budget over 10-year period from taking on Junaluska ■ $7 million: cumulative loss over 10 years to Waynesville’s water and sewer fund from taking on Junaluska ■ 100 years: age of Lake Junaluska’s oldest water and sewer lines ■ $5.6 million: estimated water and sewer line repairs and upgrades Lake Junaluska needs ■ $3.8 million: estimated street repairs and upgrades Lake Junaluska needs
more than 30 percent of the water flowing through its pipes seeps out into the ground, never making it to a customer’s faucet. Currently, Lake Junaluska buys water in bulk from the town and resells it to its own residents. Waynesville is paid for the water that’s lost into the ground, even though it technically isn’t reaching anyone’s water meter. If Lake Junaluska becomes part of the town, the residents there would become individual water customers — Lake Junaluska would no longer act as a middle man buying and reselling the water. Waynesville could only charge Junaluska residents for their actual water usage — and so the town would have to eat the cost of the water lost from the leaky pipes. The town would actually see a net loss just in its water and sewer operations to the tune of $300,000 to $500,000 a year. Technically, the town could offset the
While the biggest budget boon for Waynesville should it absorb Junaluska is the $775,000 in annual property tax revenue from Lake homeowners, Waynesville stands to gain financially on other fronts as well. Adding Lake Junaluska to the town limits will give Waynesville a population boost — from its current census population of 10,000 to roughly 11,000. The bigger population means a bigger cut of state sales tax distributed according to population, as well as other pots of state money that use a population-based formula, Onieal said. In all, it could mean an extra $1.2 million annually for the town, including both property taxes and the bump in various funding streams. Waynesville has held two public hearings on the issue, but town residents were largely a no show. “If someone feels left out or not heard that is their own fault. There has been ample opportunity,” said Alderman Wells Greeley. “That is when you have a great democratic process when everybody has been given a chance to have their piece.” Waynesville leaders were expected to vote at their meeting Tuesday night, held after The Smoky Mountain News’ press time, on whether the town wants to absorb Lake Junaluska. Various entities at Lake Junaluska will be voting over the coming week on whether they want to join the town.
Smoky Mountain News
The shortcomings of Lake Junaluska’s water and sewer lines have been a driving force behind the merger discussions. Staring down the costly repairs, Lake Junaluska residents realized they would be facing considerable increases to their water and sewer fees — or a sizeable levy — to cover the cost. Joining Waynesville could soften the blow for Junaluska residents, thanks to economies of scale that come with being part of a larger town. “Their infrastructure is essentially in about the same state Waynesville’s is over all. We both have aging sections,” Onieal said. “But it is a lot easier to undertake those improvements and repairs the larger the system is.” Waynesville not only faces the prospect of water and sewer line repairs at Lake Junaluska, it will actually lose money on its monthly water and sewer operations at Lake Junaluska. Junaluska’s water pipes are so leaky that
Several boards will weigh in over the next week on which direction Lake Junaluska should take: merging with Waynesville or going it alone? ■ Waynesville Board of Alderman: vote likely at 7 p.m. Feb. 26 ■ Lake Junaluska task force: vote at 7 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Harrell Center at Lake Junaluska. ■ Lake Junaluska Community Council: vote at 4 p.m. March 5 at Junaluska Welcome Center. ■ Mail-in survey of 800 Lake Junaluska property owners: results announced publicly March 7. ■ Lake Junaluska Board of Directors: discussion at 10 a.m. March 7 at Terrace Hotel Auditorium, with vote to follow on March 8. ■ N.C. General Assembly: vote in mid- to late-summer.
Feb. 27-March 5, 2013
A trip to the chapel
Junaluska. “This is a worst-case scenario if we identify all the needs,” Onieal said. “Any time you do this kind of study you want to know what it would cost to do everything. Yes, these are all things that have to be done, but they aren’t things that have to be done on a specific time frame.” In other words, the town can beg off some of the $10 million in infrastructure upgrades listed in the study. “They can be dialed up and down depending on what absolutely has to be done and how aggressive you want to be about undertaking these projects,” Lang said. “The staff and board have to determine what can we afford to do and what has to be done.”
water and sewer losses with the windfall from property taxes it will rake in from Lake Junaluska homeowners — thus amounting to a wash. But water and sewer operations should be self-sustaining and self-sufficient, not propped up by property taxes. “That is not a good practice,” said Lang. That reinforces the likely increase in water and sewer rates. Waynesville’s water and sewer rates are currently 30 to 40 percent lower than of most areas in the region. “Town rates are low compared to their peers and could tolerate slight adjustments if needed to offset the loss in the water and sewer fund,” Lang said. Onieal said it’s never fun to spend money on water and sewer repairs and upgrades, which is one reason communities can end up with a backlog. “It is out of sight, out of mind. They don’t see the pipes. They just turn on the faucet and get water,” Onieal said. Lake Junaluska wouldn’t be guaranteed its own little pot of money to peck away at its own water and sewer needs. Instead, its $5.6 million in water and sewer repairs would be tossed in the heap with the roughly $20 to $25 million in water and sewer repairs the town already has on its own todo list. “There would be no sense that Lake Junaluska projects would take priority over the town of Waynesville or vice versa. They would simply all become town of Waynesville projects and be slotted in line accordingly,” Onieal said.
Smoky Mountain News
Increasing Medicare coverage could lower healthcare costs BY MARTIN DYCKMAN G UEST COLUMNIST he United States spends twice as much on health care as most other modern nations, with less to show for it in terms of longevity and other true measures of health. The reasons why — and what we could and should do about it — make the March 4 edition of TIME probably the most important single issue of any magazine ever published. Steven Brill’s cover story, “Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us,” takes up nearly the entire edition. Anyone who cares about this — and who doesn’t — needs to buy or borrow the magazine now or download the article from TIME’s website. It’s a keeper. The big villains in Brill’s piece are the hospitals whose outrageous bills have nothing at all to do with what their itemized services cost them, profiteering by pharmaceutical companies and the manufacturers of artificial hips and other durable medical supplies, and a Congress that protects them. Since 1998, the health care industry has spent $5.36-billion — that’s money extracted from you on me — on lobbying
MV Lodging Association opposes TDA tax hike To the Editor: Contrary to articles recently published in our local papers, there is much opposition to the proposed law to increase the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority occupancy tax by an additional 2 percent, raising the taxes to an unprecedented 13 percent for people who stay in Haywood County lodgings. At a special called meeting of the Maggie Valley Area Lodging Association on Friday, Feb. 22, our membership had a chance to voice their opinions and concerns. Members who were not able to attend this meeting sent in emails that overwhelmingly indicated their opposition to this proposal. The Maggie Valley Area Lodging Association presented a position at a special Maggie Valley Town Board meeting on Monday, Feb. 25, at town hall in Maggie. A motion was made at our meeting that states: “We as an organization oppose the proposed legislation, as written.” This motion has unanimous approval. In addition, we feel that the bill, as proposed, is being “fast-tracked” without adequate research as to its implementation and impact. Sue Koziol Secretary/Treasurer Maggie Valley Area Lodging Association
State’s democratic ideals are fading fast To the Editor: Our founding fathers, framing our Constitution, created a representative democracy. They formed a republic, a government where the people vote for representatives to
Congress. Defense contractors, by contrast, invested a mere $1.53 billion in feathering their nests. There’s something frightfully wrong with a system that allows the CEOs of nonprofit hospitals to be compensated as much as $5.9-million a year, while it hounds strapped-out patients — even many with insurance — into despair or bankruptcy. It is beyond bizarre that those lacking insurance, who are least able to pay, are slammed with the highest bills. “Unless you are protected by Medicare,” Brill writes, “the health care market is not a market at all. It’s a crapshoot.” Patients have little to no informed choice of providers or treatments, a situation bound to get worse as hospitals apply their profits to swallowing up their competitors and making employees of previously independent physicians. Patients, he says, “have no choice of the drugs that they have to buy or the lab tests or CT scans that they have to get, and they would not know what to do if they have a choice. They are powerless buyers in a seller’s market where the only sure thing is the profit of the sellers.” The big hero in all this is Medicare. It administers claims
govern for them who reflect their views. This is an indirect democracy, a government by majority rule of the voters. The founding fathers also created a three-branch government. The executive, legislative and judicial branches are independent of each other assuring that no one branch seizes too much power. These founding principles of our government are under attack in the state of North Carolina. Throughout our history the right to vote has been expanding to include AfricanAmerican men, women and the nation’s youth (by reducing the voting age to 18). Today their basic right is under threat. If our state legislature passes a law requiring voter IDs almost half a million registered voters, mainly our youth, the elderly, the poor and minorities, would be denied their voting right. Supporters of voter ID argue this law will combat voter fraud. Voter fraud is almost nonexistent in North Carolina. After the election of 2010, state legislatures redrew their congressional districts reflecting population changes resulting from the census. The Republican-dominated state legislature redrew N.C. legislative districts, manipulating them to favor Republican candidates. A majority of North Carolina voters cast their votes as Democrats in the 2012 election. As a result of gerrymandered districts, Republican legislators hold over 70 percent of the seats. Some gerrymandering was practiced by past state legislatures. “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” When elections are manipulated to favor one political party and not the will of the people, democracy is lost. There are currently court challenges to these gerrymandered districts that are not yet settled. House Bill 10, recently passed in the N.C. state Senate, would allow Gov. Pat McCrory to eliminate 12 special Superior Court judges and change the makeup of the state
far more efficiently than private insurers and has made a science out of paying hospitals only what it actually costs them, including salaries and other overhead, to do what they do. Brill’s research makes a powerful case for lowering — not raising — the age of Medicare eligibility, provided that people nearing 65 pay higher premiums or co-pays. He concedes that hospitals need more lawsuit protection if they are to stop performing so many costly scans and lab tests. Brill estimates that the U.S. pays $750 billion too much on health care every year, compared to other developed nations. He warns that it will get worse, under the new coverages rightfully mandated by Obamacare, unless the nation deals with the profiteering and other treatable causes. No summary as short as this can do justice to a report as magisterial as the March 4 TIME, but I hope this encourages readers to go to the source. We’ve been powerless buyers far too long. (Waynesville resident Martin A. Dyckman is a former journalist and the author of several books. He can be reached at email@example.com.)
Board of Elections. These unnecessary changes would serve to consolidate political power in the hands of the governor and the Republican Party. Altering the structure of our state judiciary is a serious threat to the principle of separation of powers that is so basic to our democracy. Replacing members of the Board of Elections with political appointees would place greater power and influence in the hands of one party: Republicans. The above developments threaten to undermine the very foundations of our republic, a government representing the will of the people. Concentrating power in the executive branch endangers democracy. The state of North Carolina appears to be moving toward oligarchy, government by the few. History provides an example of possible disastrous consequences when one political party, dominated by a powerful executive, gains control over a government. “Evil triumphs when good men (and women) do nothing.” Citizens need to email, write or call elected officials. Speak up for democracy! Margery Abel Franklin
Writer spouted false facts about Obamacare To the Editor: A recent letter writer makes a number of unsubstantiated and flat out erroneous claims about Obamacare, otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These sound like talking points from some right-wing propaganda organ. First, the writer claims that Obamacare will cause the decline in the quality of medical care. There is absolutely no evidence for this.
LOOKING FOR OPINIONS The Smoky Mountain News encourages readers to express their opinions through letters to the editor or guest columns. All viewpoints are welcome. Send to Scott McLeod at firstname.lastname@example.org., fax to 828.452.3585, or mail to PO Box 629, Waynesville, NC, 28786. Second is the common theme that the ACA comes between the patient and doctor relationship. This too is bogus. Private insurance that denied payment for preexisting conditions certainly came between the doctor-patient relationship. Refusals by private insurance to pay for certain conditions have doomed many to death just as being uninsured has resulted in many deaths. Third, the writer brings up costs. Private insurance takes up to 30 percent of the premiums you pay for profit, advertising, multimillion dollar executive salaries, and other “overhead.” The writer also criticized the coverage of contraception as driving up taxes. Availability of contraception actually saves money. It is more expensive to cover pregnancy and birth than funding contraceptives. Finally, the writer claims that Congress passed ACA because of “bribes to fund state wish lists” without giving any examples or evidence for this. Again, propaganda without facts. People should start looking at the facts instead of propaganda. For example, the overhead (proportion of money not available for direct care) for Medicare is under 5 percent. The overhead for private insurance ranges from around 20 percent to more than 30 percent. Now tell me which is the more efficient
system. If we are to have a discussion, at least cite facts, not phony propaganda. Norman Hoffman Waynesville
Time to be rid of all Cherokee bear zoos
Not all doom and gloom in Dillsboro
Wouldnâ€™t it be wonderful ... to use local builders To the Editor: Wouldnâ€™t it be wonderful if the building boom of million dollar homes in Jackson County supported this countyâ€™s people? Hiring local contractors and skilled laborers, as well as employing the abundant resource of manual labor in the area would do much to alleviate the cost of social services and lift the spirits and quality of life of those whose people have lived here for centuries. Many of them are descendants of the ones who created the â€œmountain cultureâ€? that so enriches our lives and yours. Many of them perform and create works of art and craft themselves. These are the folks who live locally and will spend their incomes locally, improving the town and countryside. Hiring outside contractors may be alluring as to the initial bid (which, by the way, can be often overrun). Outsiders arenâ€™t familiar with the local building codes and steep slope ordinance codes that in the long run will make your homes more valuable. No one wants a home that slides off the mountain, into the river, or has a mudslide on top of it. The paychecks of laborers from out of state will barely make a dent in the local economy, as they will most likely be spent in chain motels, stores, and restaurants. The bulk of these monies go out of the state, as will the proceeds. Please help to preserve and protect the beauty that you have come here seeking, and you will in turn be respected and well served. Martha Thomas Sylva
Liberals arts education enriches oneâ€™s life To the Editor: Scott McLeod (Feb. 6 SMN) pays tribute to the value of a liberal arts education. Even though I never earned a B.A. degree, my college and high school background in literature, philosophy, music and religion has greatly enriched my life. Bill Sullivan Raleigh
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To the Editor: The claim of Frank Parrish and others over the past few years that Dillsboro is a ghost town is highly exaggerated. By all accounts, most Dillsboro merchants had a very good 2012. My retail store broke even its first year and posted a profit the second
YOUR GATEWAY TO CYCLING THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS!
Feb. 27-March 5, 2013
To the Editor: Little has changed in Cherokee since a 1989 Parade Magazine cover story, â€œAre Our Zoos Humane?â€? named a Cherokee bear exhibit as one of the 10 worst zoos in America. Thus, I was very pleased to read your story, â€œCherokee entertains idea of bear sanctuary,â€? and learn that there is finally some talk about improving conditions for these magnificent animals currently languishing in pits and cages.Â Imagine if you (or your dog) were kept in a cramped cage or concrete pit,Â unable to express the simplest of natural behaviors, andÂ forced to beg for food from tourists.Â - Cherokee zoos have been repeatedly cited tby the USDA for inadequate housing, injury )hazards such as protruding nails and structurally unsound shelters, inadequate veterinary care for sick and dying animals, lack of sufficient space, lack of adequate foods, etc.Â And USDA standards are quite minimal.Â Several years ago, Bob Barker wrote the following to Chief Michell Hicks: â€œThe pacing, begging and moaning evident in the bear displays in Cherokee are signs that their most basic needs are not being met â€Ś the archaic caging and public feeding must go.â€?Â At the time, Chief Hicks reacted with anger and denial.Â I commend him for finally acknowledging the need for change, although I am sorry to read that he opposes removing the bears from the reservation.Â I think the best answer is for these animals to be sent to bona fide sanctuaries to live out the rest of their natural lives in peace, and for the reservation to say no to captive animal exhibits. Stewart David Asheville
year (2012). These are the facts people. Itâ€™s not the boom times for anybody in the region, but far from the doom and gloom you have been reading about. David Marker Secretary, Dillsboro Merchants Association
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tasteTHEmountains 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 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 RIDGE BBQ COMPANY 180 N. Main St., Waynesville. 828.452.7524. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. TuesdayThursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Blue Ridge BBQ is a family owned and operated restaurant. The BBQ is slow hardwood smoked, marinated in its own juices, and seasoned with mountain recipes. All menu items made from scratch daily. Featuring homemade cornbread salad, fresh collard greens, or cornbread and milk at your request. Old-fashioned homemade banana pudding and fruit cobbler of the season. Catering, take-out, eat-in. email@example.com. BLUE ROOSTER SOUTHERN GRILL 207 Paragon Parkway, Clyde, Lakeside Plaza at the old Wal-Mart. 828.456.1997. Monday-Friday 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friendly and fun family atmosphere. Local, handmade Southern cuisine. Fresh-cut salads; slowsimmered 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. 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. CATALOOCHEE RANCH 119 Ranch Dr., Maggie Valley. 828.926.1401. Mile-high mountaintop dining with a spectacular view. Join us for cookouts on the terrace on weekends and Wednesdays (weather permitting) and familystyle dinners on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Social hour starts at 6 p.m., with dinner at 7 p.m. Our bountiful family-style meals include prime rib, baked ham, and herb-baked chicken; cookouts feature steaks, ribs, chicken and pork chops, to name a few. Every dinner is complemented with an assortment of seasonal vegetables, homemade breads, jellies and desserts, and we offer a fine selection of wine and beer. Breakfast is also served daily from 8 to 9:30 a.m., and lunch from 12 to 2 p.m. Please call for reservations. CHEF’S TABLE 30 Church St., Waynesville. 828.452.6210. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday dinner starting at 5 p.m. “Best of” Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator Magazine. Set in a distinguished atmosphere with an exceptional menu. Extensive selection of wine and beer. Reservations honored. 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 salmon 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, panni sandwiches. Enjoy outdoor dinning on the deck. Private room available for meetings. CITY LIGHTS CAFE Spring Street in downtown Sylva. 828.587.2233. Open Monday-Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tasty, healthy and quick. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, espresso, beer and wine. Come taste the savory and sweet crepes, grilled paninis, fresh, organic salads, soups and more. Outside patio seating. Free Wi-Fi, pet-friendly. Live music and lots of events. Check the web calendar at citylightscafe.com. CORK AND BEAN 16 Everett St., Bryson City. 828.488.1934. Open Monday-Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Enjoy organic, fair-trade, gourmet espresso and coffees, a select, eclectic list of wines, and locally prepared treats to go with every thing. Come by early and enjoy a breakfast crepe with a latte, grab a grilled chicken pesto crepe for
lunch, or wind down with a nice glass of red wine. Visit us on Facebook! 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. CORNERSTONE CAFÉ 1092 N. Main Street, Waynesville. 828.452.4252. Open Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fresh meats purchased daily, great homemade breakfast, burgers made to order. Comfortable and friendly atmosphere, with curb service available. Make lunch easy and call ahead for to go orders. 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. 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 FRYDAY’S & SUNDAES 24 & 26 Fry St., Bryson City (Next To The Train Depot). 828.488.5379. Winter hours: 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thur & Sun. 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fri & Sat. 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. 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 Wed- Fri. from 4 to 6. frogsleappublichouse.org. GUADALUPE CAFÉ 606 W. Main Street, Sylva. 828.586.9877.
tasteTHEmountains Open 7 days a week at 5 p.m. Located in the historic Hooper’s Drugstore, Guadalupe Café is a chef-owned and operated restaurant 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. 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.
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.
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. OLD STONE INN 109 Dolan Road, off Love Lane. 828.456.3333. Classic fireside dining in an historic mountain lodge with cozy, intimate bar. Dinner served nightly except Sunday from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Signature dinner choices include our 8oz. filet of beef in a brandied peppercorn sauce and a garlic and herb crusted lamb rack. Carefully selected fine wines and beers plus full bar available. Open year round. Call for reservations. PASQUALE’S 1863 South Main Street, Waynesville. Off exit 98, 828.454.5002. Opend 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. 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
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. Live music Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
S PRING S TREET, D OWNTOWN S YLVA
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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. HomeGrown Music Network Venue with live music most weekends. Pet friendly and kid ready. SPEEDY’S PIZZA 285 Main Street, Sylva. 828.586.3800. Open seven days a week. Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday 3 p.m.-11 p.m., Sunday 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Family-owned for 30 years. Serving hand-tossed pizza made to order, pasta, subs, gourmet salads, calzones and seafood. Also serving excellent prime rib on Thursdays. Dine in or take out available. Located across from the Fire Station. TAP ROOM SPORTS BAR & GRILL 176 Country Club Dr. Waynesville 828.456.5988. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Enjoy soups, sandwiches, salads and hearty appetizers along with a full bar menu in our casual, smoke-free neighborhood grill. THE TIKI HOUSE SEAFOOD & OYSTER BAR 2723 Soco Road, Maggie Valley. 828.944.0445. Fresh seafood made to order. Oysters raw, steamed, or fried. Handcut steaks. Live music, cocktails, pet-friendly patio dining with a nice fountain. Friday patio music starts at 7 p.m. and Saturday night after dinner. Live bands and a dance floor. 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.
Burgers to Salads Southern Favorites & Classics 117 Main Street, Canton NC 828.492.0618 • SidsOnMain.com Serving Lunch & Dinner
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Smoky Mountain News
MOONSHINE GRILL 2550 Soco Road, Maggie Valley loacted in the Smoky Falls Lodge. 828.926.7440. Open Wednesday through Saturday, 4:30 to 9 p.m. Cooking up mouth-watering, woodfired Angus steaks, prime rib and scrumptious fresh seafood dishes. The wood-fired grill gives amazing flavor to every meal that comes off of it. Enjoy creative dishes made using moonshine. Stop by and simmer for a while and soak up the atmosphere. The best kept secret in Maggie Valley. themoonshinegrill.com
desserts. Wide selection of wine and beer. Outdoor and indoor dining.
NEW WINES, & BEERS PLUS GREAT SPECIALS!
Feb. 27-March 5, 2013
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
Open daily for lunch and dinner. Fine and casual fireside dining in welcoming atmosphere. Full bar. Reservations accepted.
25 years in the business. Over 4.5 million hotdogs served. A Maggie Valley vacation tradition! 1451 DELLWOOD RD. | WAYNESVILLE | 926-0734
Smoky Mountain News
Want to go?
Age is but a number on your dance card
BY GARRET K. WOODWARD STAFF WRITER Darkness enveloped the vehicle as soon as it exited Interstate 40. Cruising around sharp S-curves in the mountain community of Fines Creek in the remote northern reaches of Haywood County, headlights peered across vast fields and by quiet farmhouses where inhabitants were winding down after another bountiful day. A heavy fog rolled into Western North Carolina as distant homes sparkled like far away stars in the sky. Barreling further into the country, and away from any semblance of town, it seemed you could drive off the edge of the earth if you kept pushing any longer. But then, a brightly lit building emerged like a lighthouse on the high seas, with dozens of vehicles surrounding the old stone schoolhouse. It’s Saturday night at the Fines Creek Community Center and that means it’s time to dance. Entering the large, aged gymnasium of the former school, remade into a community center, rows of tables filled one side of the basketball court while the other was headlong into a gyration frenzy. “I’ve just been dancing and going to music for [several] years, and I love seeing the people here,” said event organizer Fannie Dorlon. “I treat my people if there was 20 here the same as if there was 100.” What started as a semi-regular occurrence, where local music groups and dancers would come together has now morphed into a weekly hootenanny bringing in upwards of 125 people since Dorlan took over and kicked things off last October. Those who ran the past events were getting older and too tired to carry on the duties. Dorlan saw the opportunity to put some fresh blood and enthusiasm into the cherished dances. “I couldn’t find anything like this anywhere,” she said. “So, I came down here one night and asked if it was available to do every weekend. It was, and it’s been going every weekend since.” And going it is. Though a decidedly older crowd, the energy and vibration of patrons throws age to the backseat and steers right into the promise of a fun-filled evening. With beltbuckles the size of dinner plates, snakeskin boots and newly minted cowboy hats, gentle-
The weekly music and dance at the Fines Creek Community Center goes from 7 to 10:30 p.m. every Saturday throughout the year. Each week, different old-country, early rock-n-roll and mountain music groups grace the stage. Food, refreshments, 50/50 raffle and door prizes are available. Admission is $5 and students are free with paying adult. 828.627.1912.
First timers to the Fines Creek dance, Jonathan Hicks and his girlfriend Dana McGwire (foreground) think coming to events like these are not only important for relationships, but also for the strength of the local community. Garret K. Woodward photo
men tip their brims to their significant others or to a newly met friend, ultimately scratching another name off their dance card. At 71-yearsold, Audrey Worley has been clogging since she was a child. For her, it’s all about getting out and doing what she loves — dancing. “Haywood County has very few things like this to offer and I think it’s just wonderful here,” she said. “It’s a good tradition to have here and the exercise is great.” Twirling around the floor, couples move about like a carousel, gliding and swaying back and forth with their partner to the sounds of Jericho Hill, an old-country/early rock-n-roll quartet from Asheville. “We’re used to playing a lot of bars and this is really a family thing, which is what we really like about it,” said bassist Ed Chandler. “If somebody doesn’t keep this going, it’ll become a lost art, so we’re glad to be able to get in here and do this kind of thing.”
Fines Creek Bluegrass Jam changes date The Fines Creek Blue Grass Jam, held annually the past 15 years, will see a change in date this year from the last weekend in August to the second weekend of the month, Aug. 9-10. Attendance at the event has dropped over the past two years because of competition from other events held the same weekend, primarily the Haywood County Fair whose date was changed in recent years to the same weekend as Fines Creek, which is a family-friendly destination point for lovers of bluegrass music. Trisha Fricks is serving as chairperson for the event, assisted by Charles and Mary Ann Teague and a committee of volunteers. 828.627.3080 or email@example.com or www.finescreek.org.
Grabbing a chilidog or some banana pudding, folks here sit and relax for a few moments before jumping right back up for a slow dance or up-tempo rockabilly selection. Wandering the Cracker Jack box gymnasium, one gets the sense if they closed their eyes and listened carefully they would be transported decades into the past, to a simpler time, one of chivalry, innocent laughter and cozy handholding. “We’ve been coming since she opened. The atmosphere is down to earth and you just feel like you’re home, it’s just a good place,” said Barbara Ross. “It’s a lot of older folks, but this is a tradition our younger people now have access to.” Sitting down next to Barbara is her husband Ralph. A longtime dance and rhythm aficionado, he’s appreciative of these events and how much they’ve meant to the community at large. “I like to dance to pretty music and it’s very sociable,” he said. “Oh, I thought there for a minute he was going to say pretty women,” Barbara chuckled. Manning the food table during a set break, Dolan’s boyfriend James Strickland knows the importance of preserving southern traditions. Keeping these events alive and going is a top priority for him. “It’s the heritage and trying to keep it going for the kids and grandkids,” he said. “This is the tradition of the mountains, especially with clogging, two-step and line-dancing, and people here are going to do it until they die.” Strickland points to the wide array of people in attendance. According to him, there are folks from Black Mountain, Hendersonville, Cherokee and as far away as Georgia. It’s about getting the word out and letting people know the real deal is happening in Fines Creek. “If you come once, you’ll come back,” he said. “There’s no drinking, no smoking and you don’t have to worry about hostility. We’re got a good turnout and everyone is enjoying themselves.” Tearing up a rug the entire night, firsttimers Dana McGwire and Jonathan Hicks are having a ball diving into the movements and music of their native lands. The couple sticks out, not just primarily for their young age, but for their exuberance to soak in every musical note and quickly fleeting moment in the room. “Mountain tradition is important and it’s just fun to get out and do this, which we like to do,” Hicks said. “It’s great to be here, to learn
S EE FINES CREEK, PAGE 19
The annual “Empty Bowl” fundraiser will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at The Open Door Soup Kitchen in Waynesville. Local potters donate handcrafted bowls, which guests can then buy — filled with soup — for a $20 donation to the Open Door.
Watch a portrait master in action
Chili contestant fee is $15 , or $10 for Maggie chamber members. 828.926.1686 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maggie Valley Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual chili challenge from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, March 10, at the Maggie Valley Inn & Conference Center. The public judges the contest, with a $5 cover charge to get a cup for taste testing. Competitors will have four flavor categories to choose from: • The Chili Rustler: A cowboy’s chilihearty, bean and beef. • Chili Luau: A sweeter version using pineapple, chicken or any other lighter flavoring. • Chili Mex: A spicy version using rice, jalapenos, black beans and anything else packing “heat.” • Chili Hog Wild: Biker Friendly version using anything but beef – sausage, bear, deer, pork or meat of choice. Competitors are required to dress up in costume to match the category entered with 50 percent of the score based on taste and 50 percent of the score based on presentation.
Workshop for musical youth to hone their stage chops A workshop for youth who are performing mountain heritage music and would like to learn more about stage presence will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 2, at the Jackson County Public Library in Sylva. Hosting the workshop will be Judy Rhodes, who is a performer and has served as a judge for the Mountain Youth Talent Contests for several years. She is a songwriter, piano teacher and children’s choir director. This workshop is highly recommended for those participating in the Heritage Alive! Mountain Youth Talent Contest on Saturday, April 27, at the Greening Up the Mountains Festival in Sylva. The class is free and open to the public. 828.586.4009 or email@example.com.
great Saturday night at the Fines Creek Community Center is wrapping up. At a nearby table, Canton Mayor Mike Ray is observing the jubilant crowd, most of which come and support “Pickin’ at the Armory,” a twice monthly mountain music and dance event held in the Canton Armory before it moves outside to recreation park in the summer. “This is the heritage of Western North Carolina, so it’s important that our community has a place to come and dance, for young people to come and carry on the tradition,” Ray said.
FINES CREEK, CONTINUED FROM 18 and see how the older generation does it.” “I like it here because I can shake a leg,” McGwire added. “This is important for relationships and for the community.” But, what about being a younger couple in a sea of elders? “There’s a lot of young souls here,” she smiled. The early evening slides into the depths of the crisp night. Couples are slowly trickling out the door to destinations unknown. Another
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Smoky Mountain News
Who’s the spiciest in WNC?
Held every Saturday night at the Fines Creek Community Center, the weekly music and dance event attracts droves of patrons from around Western North Carolina. Attendees come to clog, two-step or line-dance to the sounds of old-country, early rock-n-roll and mountain music groups. Garret K. Woodward photo
Feb. 27-March 5, 2013
Multimedia artist and teacher Mark Menendez will demonstrate oil portrait painting techniques for the Art League of the Smokies at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, at Swain County Center for the Arts in Bryson City. Menendez will demonstrate his unique method of portrait painting, from pencil drawing to pattern to finished portrait of a child. Attendees will learn many valuable techniques no matter your medium or genre or level of expertise. For over 30 years, Menendez has instructed thousands of students at all levels of expertise or education and currently offers classes in Andrews and Waynesville. He is a member of the Blue Ridge Watermedia Society, the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association, The Color Pencil Society of America, and the Macon County Art Association. The event is sponsored by the Swain County Center for the Arts and Swain County Schools. It is free and open to the public. 828.488.7843 or www.swain.k12.nc.us.cfta.
arts & entertainment
Potters unite to help feed the hungry
In addition to the handcrafted bowl by a local potter, the donation includes a simple meal of soup, cornbread, dessert and refreshments. Patrons are asked to keep their bowl as a reminder of all the empty bowls around the world. Jim and Karen Doyle have been attending the Empty Bowl fundraiser for years and have amassed a proud collection of the handcrafted bowls from the event. “We praise all the local potters that offer to make bowls, free of charge, and give them to the Open Door for this project,” Karen Doyle said. All proceeds from the dinner will go towards the effort to end hunger. 828.452.3846.
JOSH TURNER S AT UR DAY, M AY 11, 20 13
Little Big Town hits the stage in Cherokee
arts & entertainment
Country group Little Big Town will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at Harrah’s Cherokee Event Center. The quartet has been on top of the Billboard Country Albums Chart for several weeks with their critically acclaimed new album “Tornado,” featuring the band’s #1 hit “Pontoon.” Their previous albums produced several hits including “Boondocks” and “Little White Church,” which earned them nominations at the Grammy Awards, the Country Music Association Awards, Academy of Country Music Awards and the CMT Music Awards. www.ticketmaster.com or 800.745.3000 or www.littlebigtown.com.
Bookstore Reading & Panel Discussion with
Young Adult Authors Beth Revis, Carrie Ryan & Megan Hansen Shepherd SATURDAY, MARCH 2 • 3 P.M. 3 EAST JACKSON STREET • SYLVA
Little Big Town will play Harrah’s Cherokee Event Center on March 2.
828/586-9499 • citylightsnc.com
Balsam Range welcomes Cordle, Jackson & Salley
March 9th CLASSROOM AT THE FUN FACTORY FRANKLIN, NC TO REGISTER CALL: JIM SOTTILE (FORMER DETECTIVE NYPD)
Feb. 27-March 5, 2013
Easton Corbin to play in Franklin March 2
Winter Specials MONDAY • 9 P.M. TILL CLOSE
$5 per person Unlimited Bowling
participated in many blockbuster tours with artists like Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts and Blake Shelton. Tickets are $45 per person. www.GreatMountainMusic.com or 866.273.4615.
Country music singer Easton Corbin will be in concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin. Corbin released his first album in 2010, which included two hits, “A Little More Country Than That” and “Roll with It.” He has been nominated for multiple awards, won three American Country Awards and
Nationally acclaimed Western North Carolina bluegrass group Balsam Range will continue their winter concert series with special guest Cordle, Jackson & Salley at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at The Colonial Theatre in Canton. The multi-award winning “Trio” has had songs recorded by Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, Loretta Lynn, Toby Keith, Patty Loveless, Joe Nichols, George Strait, Alan Jackson, and others. Awards include accolades from The Country Music Association, International Bluegrass Music Association, Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music Association and Gospel Music Association Tickets are $15 per person. The last concert of the series will be with International Bluegrass Music Association “Guitar Player of the Year” Jim Hurst on April 6. 828.235.2760.
The Corbitt Brothers Band invades WNC
Renowned southern rock outfit The Corbitt Brothers Band will be performing at 10 p.m. Friday, March 1, at Mulligan’s Sports Bar and Grill in Franklin, and at 9 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at Rendezvous in the Maggie Valley Inn & Conference Center. A hard-driving rock sound with a wellrounded blend of blues and country, the Franklin-based group engages a crowd with explosive energy and magnetism. A $7 cover charge will start after 9 p.m. for the Franklin show, while the Maggie Valley performance is free as part of their “Tiki Freeze Party,” where patrons are encouraged to dress in summer/swimwear. There will be a special weekend room rate of $49 per night at the inn. www.corbittbrothers.com.
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THURSDAY • 5 P.M. TILL CLOSE Smoky Mountain News
Ladies Night • $1 Games
FRIDAY • 8 P.M. TILL CLOSE Rock-n-Glow Bowling
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FRANKLIN, NC • 828.524.8567
Haywood Community Band holds open call for musicians
Carolina Arts Council. 828.456.4880 or www.haywoodcommunityband.org.
The Haywood Community band is holding an open call for local woodwind, brass and percussion musicians to join their group now in its 11th season of giving free concerts in the area. Band rehearsals are held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays at Grace In The Mountains Episcopal Church in Waynesville. The first rehearsal of the season will be March 7. The band gives free concerts the third Sunday of each month May thru October at the Maggie Valley Pavilion next to the Maggie Valley Town Hall. The band also performs on Memorial Day, July 4 and when called upon by civic organizations in the Haywood community. Donations of band instruments are also being sought to refurbish and loan to local school band students for their use. The band, in cooperation with band directors from Tuscola and Pisgah High Schools, select students in the spring for scholarships to attend summer music camp programs in the region. Monitory donations to the band are gladly accepted. The Haywood Community Band is supported in part by a grassroots grant from the Haywood County Arts Council and the North
‘Vagina Monologues’ come to WCU “The Vagina Monologues” will return to the stage at Western Carolina University at 7 p.m. March 1 and 2 in the A.K. Hinds University Center Grandroom. “The Vagina Monologues” is a series of 12 monologues by women that explore the spectrum of female sexuality, relationships and violence against women. Its production has become a near annual event at WCU. Eve Ensler, a playwright, performer and activist, wrote the play in 1996 after interviewing more than 200 women, including stories of violence against women and the struggles women face in society. WCU students and alumna are performing the monologues in recognition of V-Day, a global effort to stop violence against women and girls. Proceeds will benefit REACH of Macon County, the Clean Slate Coalition, the WCU Sexual Violence Awareness Fund and the VDay Foundation: One Billion Rising. Tickets are $5 in advance and $7 at the door. firstname.lastname@example.org or 828.227.2617.
HCC class creates stop-motion film
Turning paper scraps into handmade crafts
Learn how to transform recycled, reclaimed and new scrap booking papers into craft projects at workshop at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, at the Jackson County Library in Sylva. Hosted by James Stewart-Payne, partici-
Explore women’s role in Southern Craft Revival “Woman to Woman — The Southern Craft Revival” will be presented at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 7, at the Macon County Public Library in Franklin. The program focuses on the emergence of handmade crafts as an important industry in the Southern Appalachian region and commemorates Women’s History Month. A movement largely organized by women for women, it spawned cottage industries throughout the region and produced a new wave of American pioneers. These women of the Revival defined personal, professional and social roles for themselves, and created opportunities for less privileged women. The lecture and slide presentation will be given by Anna Fariello with Western Carolina University’s Hunter Library and the director of WCU’s Craft Revival Project. The event is free and open to the public. It is co-sponsored by the Macon County Arts Council and the Macon County Library. www.artscouncilofmacon.org or 828.524.7683.
This steam bent white oak fixture “Pinch” is a creation by Matthias Pliessnig.
The twists and turns of wood bending The exhibit “Torqued & Twisted: Bentwood Today” will be running through March 22 at Western Carolina University’s Fine Art Museum. The exhibition explores the work of nine furniture makers and sculptors who use the technique of bending wood in innovative, unusual and eloquent ways. Bentwood came to symbolize the modern movement in furniture design, but it still offers a tempting territory for a range of aesthetic and formal explorations. The artists/designers in this exhibition push the limits of wood bending to create extraordinary functional and sculptural works of art that are conceptually challenging and expand our understanding and expectations of wood as a material. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, and until 7 p.m. Thursday. 828.227.3591.
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Smoky Mountain News
Kristen Hammett, DVM Susan Bull, DVM Joel Harrington, DVM Jenny Gibson, DVM
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Feb. 27-March 5, 2013
February Dental Special
arts & entertainment
Haywood Community College students recently created a stop motion film called “Louie Loses a Lug Nut.” Stop motion, or frame-by-frame, is a technique designed to make an inanimate object appear to move on its own. The object is moved or manipulated in small increments between individually photographed frames, creating the illusion of movement when a series of frames are played in a continuous sequence. The initial idea stream focused on Louie the Car, who breaks down and needs information on repairs, which leads to him visiting the library to checkout a book. Students assisted in shooting the roughly 220 images, creating the title and credits, choosing sound effects, and photo editing. It was created by HCC’s Compensatory Education class, in partnership with the college’s Learning and Resource Center. The class is currently planning a training stop-motion film to be used at Haywood Vocational Opportunities. 828.627.4648.
pants will make a bouquet of paper flowers from pages of old magazines and also a simple garland of hearts to hang in your home. Some paper supplies will be provided. Participants are encouraged to bring old magazines, large scrap booking papers, scissors and hot glue gun or stapler, if they have them. Free. 828.586.2016.
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arts & entertainment
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