Here’s a look at what’s going on around Western North Carolina:
• Republicans regroup: Republicans in Western North Carolina are licking their wounds after big losses in last week’s elections and trying to figure out where to go from here, reports the Hendersonville Times-News. “Many Republicans believe the party must rediscover the conservative approach of smaller government and promoting individual freedom.”
• Shuler for Senate? Some Democrats are pushing Rep. Heath Shuler of WNC’s 11th Congressional District to consider a run for U.S. Senate in two years, the Times-News reports. Shuler told the newspaper he hasn’t ruled out a run, but is focusing on his second term in office.
• A familiar face: The McDowell News reports that the face of a 2005 graduate of McDowell High School graduate is gracing billboards advertising Western Carolina University that are going up across the state. The billboard features a photo of chemistry major Adrian Rose, the university’s new logo and the catchphrase “Your climb starts here.”
• Alcohol issue still brewing: A group in Cherokee is passing around a petition calling for a referendum on the issue of allowing alcohol sales at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, according to the Smoky Mountain News. In August, the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians’ principal chief, Michel Hicks, vetoed Tribal Council’s vote to put the issue to ballot. Allowing alcohol sales would generate $40 to $70 million in additional revenues, according Norma Moss, the chairwoman of the Tribal Casino Gaming Enterprise, which oversees the casino and hotel. Bob Blankenship, a former member of Tribal Council, is pushing the petition. “It’s not an issue of whether Indians drink,” he told the newspaper. “They’re already drinking it.”
• Drinking from Lake Chattuge: Clay County commissioners are moving to have Lake Chattuge classified as a public drinking source, reports the Clay County Progress. The decision came after plans to hook into a neighboring county’s water system as a secondary source of drinking water fell through.
• Railroad crossings scrutinized: The state Department of Transportation is looking at closing a railroad crossing at Lackey Town Road in Old Fort and relocating the crossing at Mauney Avenue in town, reports the McDowell News. The aim is to improve safety.
• Fly strips in food areas: Restaurant inspection reports often provide fascinating reading, and the Haywood County News’ installment this week is no exception. Here’s an excerpt: “Arby’s, 710 Russ Ave., Waynesville. Inspection: Oct. 21. Grade: 96.5. Comments: Keep foods covered in reach-in freezer. Do not hang fly strips in food areas (near oven and in stock room). Hot water from tap must be 130 degrees and it is 115-119 degrees. Do not keep any items at drive-thru hand sink in the splatter area (move cups and red syrup away from hand sink). Clean the floor at CO2 tank in stock room.”
• Tiger’s back in town: Golfer Tiger Woods was in Swannanoa last weekend to unveil his design for his first golf course in the United States, reports the Black Mountain News. The course will be located at The Cliffs at High Carolina, which will be the largest development in Buncombe County’s history, with plans for 1,000 to 1,200 homes and an 18-hole walking golf course on a mountain ridge between Swannanoa and Fairview.
• Development on hold: The Weirbridge Village condo development, unveiled a year ago, is on hold because of a slow-down in the real-estate market, according to the Pisgah Mountain News. The plan calls for 336 condos on 20 acres off of Hendersonville Road in Skyland. Jim Coman, Buncombe County’s zoning administrator, told the newspaper that “just about everything is on hold in the county.”
• Sound Swap recap: Did you miss the big used-record sale last weekend at the Grey Eagle? If so, UNCA’s student newspaper, The Blue Banner, has a recap of the second annual Sound Swap.
• Dorm life survival guide: Living in a college dorm can present a student with any number of sticky situations, as a recent post on the Appalachian State University’s student newspaper blog points out. “Although I might be able to handle it with something resembling grace, some of you might be ill-equipped to deal with hall-mates doing unmentionable things on the other side of your paper-thin wall. So, without further ado, I am proud to present The Weekly Idiot’s Dorm Life Survival Guide.”
• Asheville makes another list: Asheville has gained publicity by making any number of lists highlighting various aspects of the community. In the latest such mention, Asheville ranks second on QT Magazine’s list of top five “surprisingly gay small towns.” Asheville is on the magazine’s gaydar because of its gay- and lesbian-owned inns and “a smorgasbord of thrilling, locally owned restaurants, gay bar Smokey Tavern (18 Broadway Street), hot LGBT dance spot Club Hairspray, lesbian-owned bookstore Malaprops, and a constellation of galleries,” reports the magazine.
— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor