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Sorry Haywood County citizens and others in the western part of the state, the most grassroots and local ballots you…
Wednesday, 29 March 2017 15:51

Meadows makes his mark in the swamp

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Where’s Mark? As in Rep. Mark Meadows, our Republican congressman who reportedly represents the rural and economically challenged residents of…
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 16:49

The perfect game come round again

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I found them in the corner of the basement, hidden like Easter Eggs underneath a blue tarp which was itself…
Wednesday, 08 March 2017 20:10

Perhaps school board has learned a lesson

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Since it is, after all, the Haywood County School Board, I can only hope they’ve learned a lesson. Last week…
He’s a respected member of the community, a physician, and we ran into each other unexpectedly.  “I really have to…
Wednesday, 22 February 2017 15:40

Tax collector likely too easy on too many

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We reported last week that Haywood County Tax Collector Mike Matthews may have been showing favoritism to some local Republican…
Wednesday, 15 February 2017 15:47

The next war must not happen

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By Stephen Wall • Guest Columnist On August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb exploded 1,500 feet over Hiroshima. Only 1.5 percent…
Wednesday, 08 February 2017 16:29

New commissioner stumbles out of the gate

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Brandon Rogers almost certainly disappointed — and surprised — many of his supporters during Monday’s Haywood County Commissioners meeting. Apparently…
Wednesday, 01 February 2017 16:40

Newspapers with real reporters and editors matter

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By Frank Queen • Guest Columnist I was surrounded by newspapers growing up. Dad worked for the government in the…
Wednesday, 25 January 2017 17:03

Our allegiance is to the ideals, not to a president

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For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then…
Wednesday, 18 January 2017 16:08

Parenting nostalgia during a big birthday week

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It’s birthday week for the Barbee boys. Our two boys are exactly three years and one day apart, one born…
Wednesday, 11 January 2017 17:21

Looking for more ideology, less politics

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As the holidays drew to a close, I began preparing for the reporting we will do on the upcoming session…
Wednesday, 04 January 2017 16:42

It’s 2017, let’s talk about something else

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Now that it’s 2017, I can’t bear the thought of continuing to fixate on politics and its atmosphere of pomposity…
Wednesday, 28 December 2016 15:59

The fight over what it means to be an American

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I turned 18 three weeks too late to vote for Ronald Wilson Reagan for president of the United States, but…
Wednesday, 21 December 2016 15:03

Traditions help us deal with change, loss

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Since my mom’s passing in August, many people have given me books and resources to help with the grief. They’ve…
Wednesday, 14 December 2016 16:14

I love newspaper readers, but please read carefully

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Some things never change, and the reality of collateral damage from news stories is one of them. Plus the fact…
Wednesday, 07 December 2016 17:04

Life in Gitmo was idyllic, but the danger was real

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Fidel Castro’s death should remind us that we are oftentimes more powerless and rudderless than our country’s leaders like to…
Wednesday, 30 November 2016 17:19

In a season of feasting, finding food for the soul

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I’ve always embraced change, perhaps to my detriment. I suspect it has something to do with a youth where we…
Wednesday, 23 November 2016 16:22

Historians discover lifeless remains of the truth

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So this, perhaps, is how we in the traditional — and dare I say legitimate — media will meet our…
Wednesday, 16 November 2016 16:10

Once again, Electoral College plays controversial role

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We are a democratic republic, not a pure democracy. I was reminded of that in a most unusual way at…
Wednesday, 09 November 2016 16:03

Choose physical therapy over painkillers

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By Shannon Icenhour • Guest Columnist Fall is almost over, but October was not just for trick-or-treating; it also represented…
Wednesday, 02 November 2016 15:49

When the dust settles, we’ll keep moving forward

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I feel strongly about politics. I hope — with all the hope I can muster — that Donald Trump loses…
Wednesday, 26 October 2016 17:26

Calling a place home is not to be taken for granted

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My 18-year-old son, Liam, departed the mountains for Charlotte two weeks ago when his fall break had ended.  He’s our…
Wednesday, 19 October 2016 14:44

Relishing common ground amid the political divide

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I am at the salad bar, evaluating the freshness of the broccoli and spinach, deciding whether I want croutons or…
Wednesday, 12 October 2016 15:27

Sorting out my aversion to Donald Trump

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Cruel. That was it, that’s the word that defines why I think Donald Trump is unfit to be president. Obviously,…
Wednesday, 05 October 2016 15:48

WCU’s handling of Koch gift a model for others

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Western Carolina University’s faculty has wrestled through months of both tedium and spirited debate in devising how best to manage…
Wednesday, 28 September 2016 14:57

Pound your chest and punch your neighbor

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There were two primetime spectacles Monday evening. One was the first presidential debate between candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.…
When it comes to HB2, our state’s Republican leadership will eventually prove to be on the wrong side of history.…
Wednesday, 14 September 2016 16:31

True patriotism comes in many colors

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We drove through the small town of Clyde on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 11, right in the midst of the commemoration…
Wednesday, 07 September 2016 16:41

A hint of autumn, a sense of pride

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When we got out of the car on Sunday at the parking area in Jackson County at the end of…
Wednesday, 31 August 2016 15:10

We must deal with affordable housing problems

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If you don’t think there is an affordable housing problem in the mountain region, you’re just not paying attention. In…
Wednesday, 24 August 2016 15:11

Supporting transparency is never a bad move

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Let’s be completely honest: the Haywood County School Board’s long-time practice of recording its work sessions makes it one of…
North Carolinians can debate whether a few of the controversial laws enacted by the Republican-led North Carolina General Assembly and…
When the back-to-back national political conventions finally ended, it was like a benevolent deity had provided a merciful pardon, finally…
When Christopher Holt contacted me in March about a trip he was about to embark on to Cuba, I was…
Wednesday, 27 July 2016 18:00

School closing lawsuit should move forward

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I hope the lawsuit by Mark Melrose against the Haywood County School System has its day in court, and was…
Wednesday, 20 July 2016 15:53

So this is who we are, and I didn’t see it

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Amidst a raucous crowd of nearly 600 runners — and probably just as many spectators — a couple of Saturday…
Wednesday, 13 July 2016 15:51

New tuition plan holds great promise for NC

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Tuition just got significantly cheaper at Western Carolina University, and as long as the legislature keeps its promises to fill…
By Martin Dyckman • Guest Columnist Most of Europe’s aristocracy didn’t think the infant United States would last a decade, and…
Wednesday, 29 June 2016 01:56

In praise of passionate, civic-minded teachers

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As they say, the devil is in the details, and in this case the details are simply ridiculous. A bill…
Wednesday, 22 June 2016 15:40

Even today, our republic is on shaky ground

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 “What really shaped me was doing all of those community programs and talks, where you could really make a connection…
Wednesday, 15 June 2016 16:07

Trying to make sense of Orlando

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I don’t know what to tell my children, so I don’t tell them anything. Not yet anyway. It is the…
Wednesday, 08 June 2016 16:43

If this were the wild, he would already be gone

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When next week’s edition of The Smoky Mountain News hits the streets Wednesday, June 15, my youngest will be a…
Over this past Memorial Day weekend I found myself reading essays and columns about freedom, about military men and women…
Wednesday, 25 May 2016 15:47

Trying times for school leaders in Haywood

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Haywood County Schools has been a part of my life for 24 years now — as a journalist, the husband…
The last couple of years have brought a sea change in attitudes about marijuana. I’m convinced pot will be legal…
I’ve been observing something for years — though recently it has snowballed  — and it has always struck me as…
It’s not the 1960s in terms of political activism, but recent episodes at Western Carolina University and across the country…
Wednesday, 27 April 2016 15:23

Rep. Queen critical of GOP’s leadership, methods

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“I feel like a one-legged man at an ass kicking. They don’t care for me because I call them out.…
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