Here’s a look at what’s making headlines around Western North Carolina:
• Update on controversial Jackson County development: The Smoky Mountain News has the story: “Thirteen property owners accused of falsifying their incomes to obtain home construction loans in the controversial Big Ridge development outside Cashiers lost an appeal in Jackson County Superior Court on Friday. Each of the property owners lied about their income to get a $1.5 million construction loan from SunTrust bank, according to court records. By inflating their incomes on their loan applications, it constituted a default on their mortgages, entitling SunTrust to proceed with foreclosures, Superior Court Judge James Downs ruled.”
• Memorial service set for Farquhar: A memorial service will be held at 2:15 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 14, at the Flat Rock Playhouse to honor the theater’s executive director, Robin Farquhar, who died Monday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Hendersonville Times-News reports. Farquhar built the playhouse up from a tiny local theater to a prominent powerhouse and touched the lives of thousands of actors and theatergoers during his long tenure as director.
• Veterans Day ceremonies: A number of newspapers, including the Clay County Progress and the Haywood County News, have notices here and here reminding readers that Nov. 11 is Veterans Day. Armistice Day was established in 1918 after the Germans surrendered in World War I, the newspaper notes. “After the Second World War, the town of Emporia, Kans., changed ‘Armistice’ to ‘Veterans’ Day. The idea was to honor all those who had served in the armed forces rather than recognizing only those who’d fought during World War I. In 1954, Congress made the name change official and it became a national holiday.”
• The IRS is looking for you: The Internal Revenue Service is looking for taxpayers who didn’t receive an economic stimulus check, as well as refund checks, that were returned due to mailing address errors, the McDowell News reports. The newspaper offers a searchable online database.
• Rare dwarf white oaks preserved: Some 82 acres atop Little Scaly Mountain are being protected by a conservation easement with the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, reports The Highlander newspaper. Some of the trees atop the mountain, which has a summit 4,200 feet above sea level, are 400 years old and could represent the last remaining forest of its kind in the world, a land trust officials told the newspaper.
• Poinsettia party: Van Wingerden International greenhouses in Mills River out in Henderson County will hold its annual open house on Saturday. The event draws thousands of people interested in plants and especially poinsettias, reports the Pisgah Mountain News. The event started as an act of gratitude to the community after a major fire 17 years ago. This year, fire struck again. In August, the business suffered $1.5 million in damages to plants and buildings, the newspaper reports.
• Popular pub owner dies in wreck: Patrick Anderson, a beloved businessman in Hot Springs, died recently after his Jeep wrecked on U.S. 25-70 near the tiny Madison County town, according to the News Record and Sentinel. Anderson was the proprietor of the Paddler’s Pub and Grill, “a popular gathering place and stopover for people hiking the Appalachian Trail, which runs down the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street,” the newspaper reports.
• Teepee living: Appalachian State University junior Brett W. Butler has been living in a teepee in an effort to live closer to the land, reports the The Appalachian. “Two years ago, Butler read a book that inspired him to make this lifestyle change. ‘The Last American Man’ by Elizabeth Gilbert, is the story of Eustace Conway, a man who left his suburban home to make a life for himself in the Appalachian Mountains. He, too, lives in a teepee outside of Boone. Butler was so inspired by the tale that he arranged to meet Conway and take a teepee workshop from him at Turtle Island Preserve, also in Triplett.”
• Thinking of snow: Appalachian Ski Mountain recently announced $2.5 million in improvements to its ski resort, including an improved ability to make snow, according to the Mountain Times. Eight new tower “fan guns” have been added this year, according to the newspaper. Just last year, the ski resort doubled its snowmaking pumping capacity, enlarged its reservoir and added five new tower guns.
• Missing Sarah Palin? If you need a dose of the Sarahcuda, The Mountaineer still has a photo gallery prominently displayed on its Web site featuring photos shot of Republican vice presidential contender Sarah Palin at her rally in Asheville a couple of weeks ago.
— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor