Notice

I am working on the template of this blog today in order to chase down some problems that have developed with my template and widgets.

Macon County Commissioners

Coverage of the meetings of the Macon County Board of County Commissioners.

Franklin Town Board of Aldermen

Coverage of the meetings of the Franklin Town Board of Aldermen.

Macon County School Board

Coverage of the meetings of the Macon County School Board.

Photoblog

Photos from my photoblog.

Nothing is here yet

I haven't decided what to put here yet, so look at this pretty photo.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Coming in 2010: Pat Dollard's "Young Americans"




I will be carrying episodes of Pat Dollard's documentary "Young Americans" in 2010. This is the trailer for the series...


Justice Antonin Scalia on Globalization and the Law





U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia delivers a lecture on the clash between international and state law that is inherent in globalization. He explores historical precedents, and discusses the best and the worst ways of implementing international law.



Antonin Scalia spoke at the Lloyd Cutler Lecture in Berlin on September 22, 2009.


The above video is only a preview and you must
visit Fora.tv to view the entire program

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Waynesville Republican Sam Edwards will challenge Ray Rapp for NC House District 118



Waynesville Republican Sam Edwards announced he would take on Rep. Ray Rapp, a Mars Hill Democrat.

Edwards's announcement paints him as a man of Main Street, declaring: "Mayberry needs to increase and Raleigh needs to decrease."

"Although Raleigh has its uses," he explains further, "'Mayberry' is where the people really live, and work, and have to suffer the consequences of expensive and irresponsible government policies.”

Edwards said he is a pastor, educator, writer and political conservative. He calls for reducing taxes, government spending, unnecessary regulations, unfunded mandates on county governments, state interference in local school board decisions, and barriers to third-party candidacies.


Source:
Capital Letters blog in the Asheville Citizen-Times

I look forward to seeing how the 9-12 Project in Haywood County will step up to the plate and help Edwards win this state level race. I'm hoping that their enthusiasm for politics at the national level can be translated into action on the state and local scene...

Twitter and the Iranian Democracy Uprising





The above video is only a preview of the full program, which is
viewable at FORA.tv. The whole program is very informative, and well worth your time to watch.

I've not macro-blogged here regarding the attempt to bring a llittle more liberty to Iran in favor of micro-blogging about it on Twitter and running VPN's for the Iranian students so that they might have access to the Internet to Tweet and upload photos and videos.

I think my only post covers the important points, and I'll swipe a bit from it here:


I think that this can qualify as an opportunity to help the oppressed people of Iran by mounting 5GW-type campaigns to help them out by showing them that we are aware of their struggle.

Other things you can do to help these tweeters out is to change your time zone in your twitter settings to +3.30 GMT (the time zone of Iran) and to change your location to Tehran to give the Iranian Security Forces more Twitter Accounts to go through while they try to track down legitimate Tweeters from Iran. (Hat Tip to Paul Van Heden on Facebook)

RT (ReTweet) as many of the items you see posted with #iranelections #Tehran and other trending hashtags...also with an eye toward giving them too many targets to choose from.

Boing Boing has a
Cyber War Guide that is an excellent resource.





Commentary

All this can accomplish little unless it is paralleled by support from the President of the United States of America. Our current President has waffled, dithered and given Aid & Comfort to the Mad Mullahs and the Secret Police as they go about, culling the most effective voices for liberty in this generation of Iranians. He has stained our flag with the blood of those seeking freedom.

President Obama should look to President Reagan as a model of how to handle this situation. Reagan provided much needed Aid & Comfort to the Solidarity Movement in Poland.

At least we have Twitter so that we can document the attempt and provide what little encouragement from the sidelines as we are able.

This will be the turning point historians will identify when a nuclear device (manufactured in Iran) is detonated somewhere in the world as a missed opportunity to avoid disaster. The blood of those people will also stain our flag...courtesy of a waffling President Obama...who is afraid of doing the tough thing, to stand for those who cannot stand on their own.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Structure Fire


Photo by Bobby Coggins

What a terrible way for someone to end the year.

I had just sat down in the Macon County Library, set up my laptop and turned on my scanner when I heard Franklin and Clarks Chapel Volunteer Fire Depts being called out to a fire in reference to a Dryer overheating and catching fire.

The first unit on the scene advised that it was a working fire and requested additional fire departments to be called. Otto and Cullasaja were called Mutual Aid to help provide a water shuttle to get water to the scene. Eventually, Mountain Valley was called to bring their air van and West Macon was called to set up a draft out of the swimming pool in the yard.

I monitored the radio traffic, took a few photos and set up a camera to capture a time lapse of the smoke trail as seen from my location once I realized that I could see the smoke from the library.

The Red Cross also showed up near the end of the call to render assistance to what ever family has lost their home in this fire.

Here is a time lapse of the fire as seen from my location at the Macon County Public Library near the end of Siler Road looking toward Kovacs Rd:


During the course of the fire, several juveniles became a nuisance (according to the radio traffic) and law enforcement had to be dispatched to the scene for traffic control. One fire fighter was treated at the scene by EMS for smoke inhalation. I did not copy further traffic regarding the disposition of the volunteer fire fighter or if others had to receive supplemental oxygen or not.



Please remember that if you are near the scene of an accident or fire, don't become a problem by blocking the road, the flow of traffic or interfering with the Fire/EMS or Police in the conduct of their jobs. If you have to watch, watch from a distance, and park where you won't be in the way.

**update**

The Mountain Xpress linked to the story here.

Kitty Sauna

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures


I could not resist posting this photo!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Israel Calls ALL Ambassadors Home For Special Meeting in Jerusalem



This is the first time a conference for all of Israel’s Heads of Missions has been held. The idea is to facilitate direct dialogue with the country’s leaders, mutual updates on major diplomatic issues, and a discussion of action plans to deal with the challenges awaiting the State of Israel in the international arena in the coming year, including the Iranian threat.

Source: Gateway Pundit

The full text from MFA is below

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, headed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman, will host a conference next week (27-31 December) for Israeli Heads of Missions. At the conference, Israel’s ambassadors and consuls general serving throughout the world will discuss broad diplomatic and strategic issues.

This is the first time a conference for all of Israel’s Heads of Missions has been held. The idea is to facilitate direct dialogue with the country’s leaders, mutual updates on major diplomatic issues, and a discussion of action plans to deal with the challenges awaiting the State of Israel in the international arena in the coming year, including the Iranian threat.

A major part of the conference will be devoted to examining Israel’s integration and potential contribution to items on the world agenda such as the environment, renewable energy, water and sewage treatment, and new technologies. The participants will discuss how to develop and promote Israel’s foreign relations and its image as a country that contributes to creating a better future for everyone. They will also talk about the rise of new global powers and how to deal with them.

On Monday, 28 December, the Heads of Missions will be guests of President Shimon Peres at the President’s Residence.

Foreign Minister Liberman will open the conference. Other officials invited to attend include Prime Minister Benyamin Natanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy Dan Meridor, Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer, and senior officials of Israel’s diplomatic and security community.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs plans to make the Heads of Missions Conference an annual event, as it is in other leading foreign ministries in the world.




Commentary

Those of you who are Prayer Warriors should consider this your notice to start praying for the soldiers if the IDF, the people of Israel and for President Obama's heart to be moved to assist Israel in their mission. Also pray for confusion to be sown among the enemies of Israel, especially in Iran, the Arab World, and in America.

If a military strike is necessary, let it be carried off with skill and minimum loss of life to the IDF and to Israel.

If nothing comes of this, consider it a dry run so that you will know what to do when the balloon does go up.

Moon and Walnut Tree




.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

"The most redeeming feature of capitalism is failure" -Kevin Duffy


Graphic courtesy Free Speech Stickers

From an interview in Barron's:

Barron’s: You’ve said that perhaps the most redeeming feature of capitalism is failure. Please explain.

Duffy: Any healthy system needs a way to correct error and remove waste. Nature has extinction, the economy has loss, bankruptcy, liquidation. Interfering in this process lengthens feedback loops. Error and waste are allowed to accumulate, and you ultimately get a massive collapse.

Capitalism is primarily attacked by two groups: utopians who wish to impose a more “compassionate” system, and political capitalists who want to enjoy the fruits of success without bearing the pain of failure. They use the coercion of the state to gain privileges, at the expense of everyone else.

and

Barrons: What about the argument that a financial panic would have ensued and crushed the little guy?

Duffy: The little guy actually has been crushed. Nobody is asking where this money is coming from. And the money has to essentially flow into the political economy at the expense of the real economy. The little guy is always going to be the last one in the soup line. So he will get a bone tossed to him, like cash for clunkers. But if you are Goldman Sachs or if you have got essentially the red bat-phone to Washington, D.C., you are first in line.

Source: Barron's
Hat Tip: Chicago Boyz



Commentary

It is my opinion that some people know EXACTLY what they are doing. Their goal is to collapse our system, to make it so undesirable that we will take their offer of an alternate system as the answer to ease our suffering. If you want to know more, read about Revolutionary Defeatism or the Cloward-Piven Strategy...which are both essentially the same thing. The first article gives you more detail on the background and psychological motivators of the socialists seeking to destroy Western Civilization.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Northern Mountains of WNC Hit with Paralyzing Ice Storm



A week after over a foot and a half of snow fell in the High Country, around a half inch of ice has caused thousands of power outages in the area.

According to BREMCO's website, over 22,000 BREMCO customers, that's good for over 30 percent of their customers, are without power. At the outages' peak, around 35,000 BREMCO customers were in the dark. BREMCO's Rene Whitener said the outages began around 5:00 Friday morning.

Whitener said crews from Blue Ridge Electric as well as crews from EnergyUnited, Union Power, Pee Dee, Lumbee River, Central EMC, Pike Corporation, Carter Utility Services and Asplundh Tree Expert Company have been called to the High Country to try and restore power, but it could be later this weekend before power is restored to all customers. She said crews will resume work in a few hours. Whitener said, "Some outages may continue throughout the weekend due to the extent of ice damage to the electrical system and tree clearing to access roads and outage locations. Restoration is also lengthy due to line crews needing to cut away and remove fallen trees on roads and other areas blocking access to outage locations."

Blue Ridge Electric members should report outages by calling the cooperative's Powerline at 1-800-448-2383. Here's the link to
BREMCO's real-time outage map.

A New River Light and Power representative said it will likely be tomorrow before they restore power to all Boone residents.

When last updated, Progress Energy's power outage map reported over 1,000 outages in Avery County. Here's the link to
Progress Energy's outage map.

Source:
Go Blue Ridge




Conditions are still pretty bad up there, with about 20,000 still without power as I write this, so not many people have had the luxury of Internet access to upload any videos they might have taken of the damage. So far, I've only noted one video on You Tube. I did, however, find a late one from last week's snow storm, and I'll lead off with that...






This first video was shot by web designers at
Timeline Group after last weekend's snowstorm and gives us some views of western North Carolina under a covering of snow.




A nearly 8 and a half minute exploration of the damage caused by the ice in one community.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Mele Kalikimake



Mele Kalikimaka is the Hawaiian Christmas Song sung as a warm greeting from Hawaii as sung by Bing Crosby.

This post is dedicated to @mscator, who serves as a positive role model (though I don't always follow her lead, LOL) on Twitter.

Saturn Moon Ballet



The musical piece is Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy by Tchaikovsky.
.

Star Trek Jungle Bells

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Tree Surprise

WEATHER ALERT
Ice Storm Warnings and Advisories Issues for Western North Carolina


Map created by the GSP Office of the National Weather Service, and modified by me.

Oh No! Here we go again!!! It looks like some severe weather is bound for portions of western North Carolina for tonight and tomorrow, with an Ice Storm for the northern mountains sure to disrupt Christmas plans for thousands...

In the past, I've mocked people for waiting until the last minute to get provisions for a storm. This time I won't. YOU NEED TO GET OUT NOW AND GET SUPPLIES BEFORE THE POWER GOES OUT.

Here is the latest from the National Weather Service: [
GSP Winter Briefing page]

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE...CORRECTED
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GREENVILLE-SPARTANBURG SC
410 AM EST THU DEC 24 2009

...SIGNIFICANT ICE ACCUMULATION TONIGHT...



.RAIN WILL OVERSPREAD THE REGION TONIGHT. COLD HIGH PRESSURE IS FORECAST TO FUNNEL SUB-FREEZING TEMPERATURES SOUTHWEST INTO
WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA...CAUSING PRECIPITATION TO FALL AS FREEZING RAIN. ICE ACCUMULATIONS OF ONE QUARTER INCH OR MORE IS EXPECTED WEST OF LINE FROM LENOIR TO MARION AND ACROSS THE NORTHERN MOUNTAIN VALLEYS. A LESSER... BUT STILL CONCERNING LEVEL OF ICE MAY BE SEEN ELSEWHERE ALONG THE I-40 CORRIDOR FROM ASHEVILLE TO STATESVILLE...AND ALONG THE US 74 CORRIDOR FROM HENDERSONVILLE TO SHELBY.


AVERY-YANCEY-MITCHELL-CALDWELL MOUNTAINS-GREATER CALDWELL-BURKE MOUNTAINS-GREATER BURKE-MCDOWELL MOUNTAINS-EASTERN MCDOWELL-INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...NEWLAND...SPRUCE PINE...LENOIR...MORGANTON...MARION
410 AM EST THU DEC 24 2009

...ICE STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO NOON EST FRIDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN GREENVILLE-SPARTANBURG HAS ISSUED AN ICE STORM WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO NOON EST FRIDAY. THE WINTER STORM WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.

RAIN WILL TRANSITION TO FREEZING RAIN TONIGHT BEFORE TAPERING OFF LATER FRIDAY MORNING. ICE ACCUMULATIONS OF ONE QUARTER TO OVER ONE HALF INCHES IS EXPECTED ACROSS THE WARNING AREA...WITH THE HIGHEST TOTALS EXPECTED ON EAST-FACING SLOPES OF THE BLUE RIDGE ESCARPMENT GENERALLY ALONG AND NORTH OF INTERSTATE 40. IN ADDITION TO THE ICE...SOUTHEAST WINDS MAY REACH 25 TO 35 MPH ACROSS THE NORTH CAROLINA MOUNTAINS. THE WINDS MAY GUST TO BETWEEN 40 AND 50 MPH LATE TONIGHT INTO FRIDAY MORNING...MAINLY ABOVE 3500 FT. THESE ACCUMULATIONS AND WINDS WILL LIKELY CAUSE POWER INTERRUPTIONS AND HAZARDOUS ROAD CONDITIONS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

AN ICE STORM WARNING MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF ICE ACCUMULATIONS WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS OR IMPOSSIBLE. TRAVEL IS STRONGLY DISCOURAGED. COMMERCE WILL LIKELY BE SEVERELY IMPACTED. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL...KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT...FOOD...AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY. ICE ACCUMULATIONS AND WINDS WILL LIKELY LEAD TO SNAPPED POWER LINES AND FALLING TREE BRANCHES THAT ADD TO THE DANGER.

Snow Miser versus Heat Miser Dance Contest



It appears that Heat Miser wins the contest this year in my neighborhood as we are forecast to get rain on Christmas Day. Maybe next year our luck will be better.

US Senate Passes Health Care Legislation 60-39



By a vote of 60 to 39, the Senate passed its version of health care reform. Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) was the only member not present for the vote.

The next step is a conference with the House to form one bill to be voted on by both chambers.

Image courtesy C-SPAN.






Nocturne

Nocturne from Vincent Laforet on Vimeo.



Nocturne was shot at ISO 6400 ASA with a Canon 1D Mark IV using available light. According to Vincent Laforet, a reflector was used only on the scene involving the little girl!

If you want one of these cameras, be advised they cost more than $5,000.

Read more about the video project an Vincent Laforet's blog.
Read more about this camera at Engadget.

Moderate Islam: Western Ally or Western Myth?
Hosted by The Middle East Forum





This video is an hour long and comes from
Fora TV, which is an excellent source of video regarding public discourse on many issues from many viewpoints.

The above event was hosted by The Middle East Forum, a Philadelphia-based think tank, seeks to define and promote American interests in the Middle East and protect the Constitutional order from Middle Eastern influences. It does this in several ways. The Middle East Quarterly provides in-depth analyses. Campus Watch critiques Middle East studies in North America. Islamist Watch focuses on the lawful promotion of radical Islam. The Legal Project protects public freedom of speech in this subject area. The Washington Project monitors and seeks to influence U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Source of description:
The Middle East Forum

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"You're Mean One, Mr. Grinch" Sung By Tay Zonday



I don't necessarily agree with his analysis at the end, but the guy can sing...so I had to embed it anyway.

Ray Stevens Sings "We The People"



Good to see that Ray Stevens is on the right side of this issue!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Senator Richard Burr Discusses the Price of the 60th Vote



Burr is up for re-election this year, and he will need all the help that conservatives can give him...because the Progressives are going to go all out to win this seat in 2010.

Democrats Ensure America Will No Longer Be the Last Best Hope of Earth


As the passage of the bill that will start the process of nationalizing health care in America becomes almost inevitable, so, too, the process of undoing America's standing as The Last Best Hope of Earth will have begun.

That description of America was not, as more than a few Americans on the left believe, made by some right-wing chauvinist. It was made by President Abraham Lincoln in an address to Congress on Dec. 1, 1862.

The bigger the American government becomes, the more like other countries America becomes. Even a Democrat has to acknowledge the simple logic: America cannot at the same time be the last best hope of earth and increasingly similar to more and more countries.

Either America is unique, in which case it at least has the possibility of uniquely embodying hopes for mankind -- or it is not unique, in which case it is by definition not capable of being the last best hope for humanity -- certainly no more so than, let us say, Sweden or the Netherlands.

Indeed, President Obama acknowledged this in April, when asked by a European reporter if he believes in American exceptionalism. The president's response: "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."

Source:
Real Clear Politics

Go read the whole thing. We are being sold a bill of goods, encouraged to give up liberty in order to acheive a measure of security, as the quote that has been attributed to Ben Franklin says:




"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" --Ben Franklin

Saturday, December 19, 2009

After the Storm



Here is a video of my drive through Macon and Jackson Counties this morning sped up about ten times faster than normal...except for the snowball fight at Topcat's Grocery.

Video Views of the Snow in Western North Carolina



Here are some videos people have uploaded to the Internet of the snow that hit our region yesterday, so enjoy the scenery!!!






















This last one is a three hour webcam view with the local scanner traffic I webcast over the Internet yesterday as it happened.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Snowcam Live Recorded with Scanner Audio


The view from my house this afternoon in the loverly snow.

I added scanner audio to the feed as well.

Live player has been replaced with the recorded video.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

West Carolina Report for December 17, 2009

west carolina blogburst Pictures, Images and Photos


I've been VERY remiss in not keeping a regular schedule of posting here, and I mean to change that, starting today and getting back to overwhelming you with posts.

Here are some clippings of the news in western North Carolina from newspapers, blogs and news sites on the Internet, especially those West of the Balsams that are eschewed by the Main Stream types who think the world revolves around Asheville:

Winter Weather Forecast (most of this should be East of the Balsams)




...MAJOR WINTER STORM TO AFFECT THE AREA FRIDAY THROUGH SATURDAY AFTERNOON...

.A COASTAL STORM SYSTEM IS EXPECTED TO SPREAD PRECIPITATION OVER THE MOUNTAINS FRIDAY INTO SATURDAY. TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED TO BE WARM ENOUGH FOR PRECIPITATION TO FALL MAINLY AS SNOW ACROSS MUCH OF THE MOUNTAINS...WHILE A MIXTURE OF RAIN...SLEET AND SNOW IS EXPECTED IN THE PIEDMONT. SIGNIFICANT ACCUMULATIONS OF SNOW ARE POSSIBLE...ESPECIALLY ACROSS THE NORTH CAROLINA MOUNTAINS AND FOOTHILLS...AND PIEDMONT AREAS ALONG THE I-40 CORRIDOR.


...WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM FRIDAY MORNING THROUGH
SATURDAY AFTERNOON...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN GREENVILLE-SPARTANBURG HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WATCH...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM FRIDAY MORNING THROUGH SATURDAY AFTERNOON.

SNOW...POSSIBLY MIXED WITH SLEET AND RAIN...WILL SPREAD INTO THE
WESTERN PIEDMONT OF NORTH CAROLINA...AS WELL AS NORTHEAST PORTIONS
OF UPSTATE SOUTH CAROLINA FRIDAY MORNING. THE PRECIPITATION IS
EXPECTED TO FALL MAINLY AS SNOW THROUGH MUCH OF THE AFTERNOON...ALTHOUGH A CHANGE TO A MIX OF SLEET AND RAIN IS POSSIBLE ALONG AND SOUTH OF I-85 DURING THE EVENING. PRECIPITATION WILL CONTINUE THROUGH MUCH OF SATURDAY NIGHT BEFORE GRADUALLY TAPERING OFF EARLY SATURDAY.

STORM TOTAL SNOWFALL IS EXPECTED TO RANGE FROM 2 TO 4 INCHES
IN AREAS SOUTH OF I-40...TO 4 TO 6 ACROSS THE NORTHWEST PIEDMONT.
LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS WILL BE POSSIBLE WITHIN HEAVIER BANDS OF PRECIPITATION.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOW...SLEET...OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL.

CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.



Source:
National Weather Service



WEST OF THE BALSAMS

Andrews...it's the infamous cartruck...


During this time of year, law enforcement is called a lot with noise complaints all coming from two guys.

Steve Clark and Robert Hamilton spend a lot of time cruising the streets of Andrews and the surrounding areas with loud music blaring from their car – cartruck, that is.

With almost 200 hours put into the project each year, Clark and Hamilton use Gorilla tape and coaxial cable to attach more than 71,000 lights to the Chevrolet Celebrity, which is welded with a Datsun pickup bed and an exhaust pipe from a Mack truck.

“We’re bringing Christmas cheer,” Hamilton said.

“You could look at the people’s houses and they didn’t have any lights up. They didn’t have a Christmas tree in the house, but it was full of people. They all came out to look,” he added of the first year he drove cartruck around the area. Clark said it’s easier than the traditional way of spreading cheer.

Source:
Andrews Journal

You know me. I was not satisfied with the story above. It lacked a visual aid, like a photo or something. I found a video (probably taken with a cellphone) of the Car Truck of Andrews in action:


Cherokee County...Local Farmers branching out...


Farmers who make their entire livelihood from working the land are almost a relic from the past in Cherokee County.

As the number of large farms has steadily dwindled, a new type of farmer has emerged, one who can forge a living from an acre or two growing for a specialty market.

Keith Wood has farmed with his brother Eddie Wood in the Andrews Valley for years. He also works full time for the N.C. Extension Service in Cherokee County. “I don’t know anyone who derives 100 percent of their income from farming anymore. There are a few who get most of their finances from farming,” he said. “There are more part-time farmers than anything.”

According to the N.C. Agricultural Census, in 1940 Cherokee County had 2,000 farms. That number declined to 288 by 2007.

Source:
Cherokee Scout

Graham County...County Commissioners challenge accuracy of voter registration list...


The Graham County Board of Commissioners wants the county’s election office to develop an accurate list of registered voters in Graham County.

The commission last Thursday issued a directive for elections officials to perform a “wellness check” of the voter registration list because of concerns the current list isn’t accurate.

Commissioner Billy Cable said he wanted to get an accurate list prior to the recent court battle between commissioners and the Graham County Election Board.

“I just want to know how many registered voters there are in Graham County,” Cable said. “People ask me all the time. This came up before the court case. This has nothing to do with it.”

A superior court judge ruled Nov. 30 the county’s election board — and not the county commission — is empowered by state law to hire and fire within the elections office without interference from commissioners as long as the election board stays within budget.

The election board filed the lawsuit because the commission refused to pay a part-time worker the election board had hired.


Swain County...Candlelight procession tells the Nativity Story...



While a light, chilly rain may have watered down attendance, organizers of last Saturday's Spirit of Christmas event didn't let it extinguish the mood.

About 50 people came out for the event in downtown Bryson City. This was less than half last year's turnout of 120 people, said event organizer Sharon Chilson.

The evening started at 5 p.m. Children were able to post letters to Santa and enjoy cookies at the Swain County Chamber of Commerce.

Then, at 7 p.m., the Light-A-Light memorial tree at the intersection of Main and Everett streets was dedicated. Afterward, participants lit candles and walked down Everett Street, singing traditional Christmas songs as they went.


Macon County...REACH of Macon County has handled 800+ court cases in 2009...


REACH of Macon County and the services they provide in the community, including a new outreach program to the Latina population, were discussed at the League of Women Voter's meeting on Thursday, Dec. 10.

REACH stands for Resources, Education, Assistance, Counseling and Housing. Ann Van Harlingen, executive director of REACH of Macon County, said that REACH is a very small agency with a staff of about 12 people plus 12 board members and volunteers. REACH partners with other agencies in the community, including law enforcement, Kids Place, the Department of Social Services and the District Attorney's office.

"As of today's date, from January first of this year we have had more than 800 court cases in Macon County, which is a huge number," Van Harlingen said.

Some 25-35 percent of the case loads involved individuals from other cultures, according to Van Harlingen.

"We serve a large Hispanic community," she added.

Source:
Franklin Press

More in Macon County...Highlands School students to receive free dental care


Fluoride rinses aren’t usually part of the school curriculum, but a new program at Highlands School will make weekly rinses available to students to help improve dental health. Rinses are expected to begin in January.

“I think it’s great,” said Principal Brian Jetter. “What a great service for kids who aren’t getting enough fluoride. Plus, it’s a way to have an annual check-up to make sure there are not any problems arising. It’s a great thing for the Rotary clubs to do.”
The program is a joint effort of Mountaintop and Highlands Rotary Clubs. The program has been implemented and modeled after one at Blue Ridge School and Summit Charter School and has been deemed a success.

Source:
The Highlander

Even more from Macon County...Road failures cast uncertainty on Wildflower’s future


In 2005, two investment partners from Atlanta broke ground on a massive project on the slopes of Cowee Mountain in north Macon County with hopes of creating a new paradigm for mountainside development in Western North Carolina.

However, four years later, the road system is plagued by landslides, many of the lots are in foreclosure and only two homes have actually been built on the 2,500-acre development.

When a mid-November rain storm dumped three inches in Macon County, Thompson Road, a key road through the development, gave way, triggering a landslide, burying a home site below under a half-acre of debris. More significantly, the slide raises questions about the stability of the remaining 30 miles of roads in the development. After the slide, Macon County Emergency Services Director Warren Cabe contacted the North Carolina Geological Survey to ascertain if the road collapse posed a threat to property owners down slope from the Wildflower development.

“After we noticed there was a slide there, we notified property owners in the valley just so they could know what was going on above them,” Cabe said. “We wanted them to hear it from us instead of reading it in the newspaper.”

The study conducted by North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources Senior Geologist Rick Wooten concluded that the area affected by the slide was still unstable.

“The lowermost portion of the deposit spilled over a steep road cut for a driveway above Thompson Road. Large trees, many with root balls still attached, were pushed over, snapped off, and partially buried by debris flow material in the toe area,” the report read. “Unstable embankment material remains below the eastward and westward extensions of the main scarp. This unstable material will probably continue to move.”

Source:
Smoky Mountain Times

Jackson County...Parent taking complaints about teen club to Sylva board



Local parent Brian Bartel will be asking Sylva leaders during their regular meeting Thursday morning, Dec. 17, to shut down a club aimed at teens in the area.

Bartel will address town board members during their third-Thursday meeting at 9:15 a.m. at Town Hall and says he will ask them to look into Club Offspring, which is located next to the Flowers bread store in the former REACH Thrift Shop location. Bartel said his teens came home from school with a flyer promoting the club that worried him.

“It said ‘come as wasted as you want, dressed how you want,’ ” he said.

More than 100 residents have signed a petition requesting that the club be shut down. Bartel said he would present those signatures to the board Thursday.

Club Offspring co-owner Nathan Lang said the club was started as a way to minister to at-risk youth in the area by him and his son Russell. Though the flyers promoting the club were “on edge,” he said that no alcohol, drugs or fighting are allowed in the facilities.

“With so much media clamoring for our teens’ attention, one must be a little on the edge to get noticed,” he said. “You may notice that we didn’t say to come to Club Offspring to get as ‘wasted as you want,’ or to get as ‘high’ as you want, or to dress/undress as you want. These at-risk teens are already doing these things. And we welcome them in to our no alcohol, no drugs environment to have fun with their friends regardless of how messed up they are. They are getting messed up without us already. We are there for them when they are ready to make a positive step in their lives and have fun without the illegal element.”

Source:
The Sylva Herald Blog (The Sylva Herald Website is currently down)

More from Jackson County...


One of the many joys of my life is to listen to the owls call out at night. I hear owls much more often than I see them. Sunday, when a foggy day turned surprisingly warm, I took off to examine the neighborhood.



A flash of wings caught my attention and I turned to see a barred owl landing on a tree limb. The owl stared at me. I stared at the owl. Even though I’d left the “right” camera and the “right” lens at home, I snapped away and bagged a few grainy shots.



It is one thing to know how an owl can turn its head almost completely around and another to actually see it. The owl was facing me and then smoothly swiveled its head around until it was looking at me again...and then swiveled its head back to where it started. I stayed there for a few minutes and so did the owl. Neither of us was in any hurry to go anywhere.

Source:
Ruminations from the Distant Hills

I hope to return to making reports from West Carolina at least a twice weekly feature, and to include other areas during the rest of the week.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Truth About Congressman Heath Shuler





"The NCGOP produced this video to highlight Rep. Shuler’s blatant disregard for the truth and his attempt to use his office as leverage in a land deal with the TVA. The citizens of Western North Carolina deserve better representation."
NCGOP Chairman Tom Fetzer

The GOP of WNC is grateful to the NCGOP and Tom Fetzer for producing this ad.

"I challenge the Congressman to dispute one second of this ad. He can not because facts don't lie."

Robert Danos
Henderson County GOP

Read more about this at The Tenneseean.

Do Republicans in Buncombe County Understand the US Constitution???
Or Do They WANT A Religious Test for Officeholders?

**2.14pm** I've had several emails from Republicans in Buncombe County objecting to my use of the term Republican in my headline, several of whom I respect. I'm letting the descriptor stand because I feel it fits, and I know of no significant numbers of Republicans who have come out in support of Cecil Bothwell's religious freedom. If I am mistaken in this, please correct me.





I hope that certain people in Buncombe County will realize the folly of allowing themselves to be stirred up by listening to a moron on the radio regarding Cecil Bothwell. That guy has done nothing but cause trouble for Republicans, and as soon as they realize that, the better.

One of his latest efforts has succeeded in making the target briefly on the national radar (see
AshVegas) while simultaneously exposing our side as hypocritical idiots who don't understand the US Constitution. (As many Republicans are want to do these days since it is the style of the times). I'll wager less than one in a hundred "Republicans" have read the US Constitution and the documents that supported it, The Federalist...also known as The Federalist Papers. Or, for that matter, the Anti-Federalist Papers written by people who opposed the Constitution, and were in favor of religious tests of office.

Here is the 3d clause of Article VI:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.


That is very simple language, and should be easy to understand. The US Constitution trumps the state constitutions in this case.

Further, requiring a religious test for office violates the 1st and 14th Amendment rights of the person in question, as Torcaso v. Watkins has decided in a very similar case.

The Supreme Court ruled on this case, so it is the law of the land unless you are willing to take this all the way to the Supreme Court and get it over turned. That will not happen.

I dislike Cecil Bothwell being in the Asheville City Council. However, the voters have spoken.

If you want anyone to blame, you have no need to look past what
John Jay, an author of The Federalist Papers, the first Chief Justice of the United States and the second president of the American Bible Society, said when he declared, "Providence has given our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." If you wanted a religious test, the time to apply it would have been during the election campaign...not afterward.


So blame the conservative candidates running, blame the 80% of Republicans who did not go to the polls that day, blame the party leadership in that county for not having an organized GOTV plan for Election Day that could have been adapted by the candidates running for City Council.

Maybe next time there is an election campaign going on, these people will be involved in walking the precincts, seeking voters and donations to help get someone who shares their values elected to office. If they are not doing that, then they are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Tree Viewed From Above

Views from the Blue Ridge Parkway October 2009



Here are some views I captured on video while going to Waterrock Knob back in October...

Friday, December 11, 2009

An Evening Drive




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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

WCU Young Americans for Liberty Congressional Forum
Introductions



Here are the first 5 videos of the Congressional Forum held by the WCU Young Americans for Liberty on Monday night dealing with the introduction of the group, the format and the candidates.





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Monday, December 7, 2009

Watch NC 11 Congressional Debate Live;
Hosted by WCU Young Americans for Liberty


The player will start playing the event when I start webcasting live, which should be just before 7pm tonight. If you are a webmaster or blogger, feel free to grab the embed code and post it on your own webpage and help spread the word about the candidates, and where they stand on the issues!!! After the event is over, I will replace the live player with the archived recording of the event.

Young Americans for Liberty is a Constitutionally-focused student organization that promotes fiscal responsibility, unabashed individual liberties, and equal legal protection for all.

The goal of this debate is to not only inform students of the candidates and issues surrounding the 2010 election but to seek out candidates who most-closely align with YAL principles.

Visit their
facebook page for more information.




Video clips at Ustream


And here is the social stream that will allow you the ability to discuss the event with others on Twitter...




I am looking forward to seeing how the Republican field stacks up tonight.

Remembering Pearl Harbor

NEVER FORGET!!!

The USS Shaw exploding on December 7, 2009


KGU in Honolulu calls NBC to report Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor while it is in progress.


An NBC Radio report on the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor.




"December 7th," directed by John Ford, begins with the aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, nicknamed "the Navy's hundred million dollar fist." Authentic footage of the invasion is mixed with reenactments to provide a complete portrait of the events of that fateful day. An extended sequence pays tribute to the American soldiers killed in the attack, many of whom are individually profiled, complete with testimonials offered by surviving family members. American bravery is not only embodied by the fallen, it is proven by the resolve that comes in response to the attack. The film culminates in a profile of the Navy's recovery of one sunken vessel in particular, employing the effort as a metaphor for the American cause, "a symbol of the fighting spirit of our men who build and man our ships." Much like this successful refitting, the film suggests that American forces will rise from destruction, stronger than they were before.