J.R. VanLienden: How a humble food truck owner and his small business could teach us a thing or two

Breaking into the food industry with a small business is a feat met with both emotional and monetary costs. We all know that it’s time consuming, rigorous and overwhelming. According to the US Small Business Association, only 20 percent of businesses will survive their first year while more than 50 percent succumb to defeat after […]

Food and dialog bring the community together

If you haven’t traveled to Turkey or any other Middle Eastern country, chances are you haven’t tried ashure and let me tell you – you missed something delicious. Ashure is a Turkish delight that has a texture of pudding filled with dried fruits and nuts and was made by Berna Karayaka, lecturer at the WCU Chemistry […]

Thousands flock to the Greening Up the Mountains festival

The 20th annual Greening Up the Mountains festival was April 22. According to event coordinator, Amy Ammons Garza, she’s estimating there were around 1,200 visitors, this is 2,000 more than last year.  Garza said the streets of downtown Sylva were very crowded, not even the rain could discourage visitors. “When it rained, I think people went into […]

Reduce, reuse…now what?

This story was co-written with Jessica Wooten.  Every year, according to a 2015 study, North Carolinians throw away 23.6 billion pounds of trash. That is enough trash to circle the earth twice.   It isn’t spite that makes NC residents throw away their recyclables, but ignorance. Ipsos, a market research company, performed a study in 2011 during […]

Forums underway as WCU, educators explain lab school

The first of two forums about the new Catamount School unveiled plans, objectives and information. The forum, which took place March 16 on the campus of Western Carolina University, was led by Kim Winter, associate dean of The College of Education at WCU; Dan Grube, director of The School of Teaching and Learning at WCU; […]

Joanna Woodson: Your voice matters, dammit

It wasn’t until three weeks after the election that the Jackson County Board of Elections finally sat down for canvassing day. Until this year I wasn’t aware that canvassing day–a time after the election board members go one by one through questionable provisional ballots and determine which ones will count–existed. To me, provisional ballots existed […]