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Wednesday, 15 May 2013 13:39

Predator beetles work for all hemlocks

To the Editor: Congratulations to the National Park Service for getting the word out about the predator beetles being used to protect our hemlocks in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. However, there is a factual error in this article…
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 13:39

State GOP decimates public education

To the Editor:  North Carolina’s once proud public education system is under siege by the radical Republican gang in control of state government. Thanks to the last round of budget cuts, North Carolina ranks 48th in per pupil spending and…
When I sat down to write a piece for this week’s paper my topic was already chosen. I was going to criticize the current legislative leadership in Raleigh and what that group is doing to our state. I’ve been following…
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 00:00

Correction

A letter from Jane Harrison in the May 8 edition of SMN, “Meadows in the wrong on background checks,” was edited incorrectly. It was written as an open letter to Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and not to Rep. Mark Meadows,…
To the Editor: New York City has been attacked twice in the past decade — first by Al Qaeda and then by Hurricane Sandy. In response to the first, our nation spent billions invading Iraq and Afghanistan, creating a secret,…
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 00:00

What are they thinking down in Raleigh?

To the Editor: I continue to be mystified by the behavior of Art Pope’s legislature in Raleigh. While ranting against Washington mandates and interference in state and local affairs, they are aggressively using those same tactics. They have legislated a…
Haywood County commissioners drew a line in the sand. The Haywood County School Board decided not to cross it. In a nutshell, that’s what happened.  But what was interesting was the spoken and unspoken back and forth between the two…
Wednesday, 29 May 2013 12:52

Voucher system will hurt public schools

To the Editor:   Sponsors of House Bill 944, the school voucher bill, proposed certain changes during the bill’s first committee hearing this week. Changes include lowering the income required for eligibility, decreasing the total amount of money awarded, and increasing…
To the Editor: In 2010, the Macon County Board of Commissioners, under the leadership of then Chairman Ronnie Beale, voted to raise property taxes by 1.5 cents per $100 of valuation, or approximately $1.4 million. In the depths of terrible…
Wednesday, 29 May 2013 12:51

GOP-led legislature making huge strides

To the Editor: North Carolinians are fortunate to now have a legislature that is making historic strides towards fiscal responsibility and maintaining the values of the citizens of this state. After Republicans gained both houses of the state legislature in…
To the Editor: The committee at Western Carolina University charged with evaluating academic programs issued its report on May 22. The report can be found at www.wcu.edu. Several of the committee’s recommendations, if approved, will adversely affect the Fine Arts…
To the Editor: At a school bus stop north of Franklin, I pick up trash weekdays from kids apparently tossing stuff out the bus windows: chewed off pencils, pens, wadded up paper, numerous snack foods, gum and candy wrappers, all…
Alice Aumen, one of the owners of Cataloochee Ranch and a longtime tourism booster in Haywood County and Western North Carolina, hit the nail on the head: “It’s a vision problem.” She was referring to the decision by Sen. Jim…
Swain County is drafting a set of road standards that will serve its citizens well on two levels. First, the proposed ordinances would require developers to build roads that emergency vehicles can access, thereby providing protection for property and lives;…
By Carl Iobst Down in the flatlands of Eastern North Carolina there’s an Apex man that’s got a powerful interest in sheep. Now just wait a minute ‘for you get the wrong idea ‘cause this ain’t one of them kinda…
By Michael Beadle World wars, civil wars, the Crusades, wars of rebellion and independence. Why does humanity continue to go to war when the cost of destruction and loss of human life end up becoming more than we can possibly…
Wednesday, 16 May 2007 00:00

Real estate school for elected leaders

Money and politics. Right now in the mountains, we can add real estate to that equation.
Wednesday, 09 May 2007 00:00

Letter to Haywood Regional Medical Center

Dr. Michael Ray, who worked for Haywood Emergency Physicians before quitting in summer 2006, wrote this letter to the Haywood Regional Medical Center Board after his resignation.
Wednesday, 09 May 2007 00:00

Nurses deserve support for speaking up

By Michael Rey I would like to offer some words of support for those Emergency Department Nurses at Haywood Regional Medical Center who were brave enough to contribute to the debate over recent changes there (I am referring to the…
Wednesday, 09 May 2007 00:00

A distant memory of child’s play

By Kathryn Stripling Byer Soon school will be over for the year. Students will leave their classrooms and bound out into a summer day, feeling free, at least for a little while. But free to do what?
Wednesday, 09 May 2007 00:00

Bush’s obstinance is a rare opportunity

With President Bush’s veto of the Democrats’ bill to set a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, the stage is now set for a showdown. Lacking the votes for an override, will the Democrats now roll over…
Wednesday, 02 May 2007 00:00

Re-thinking transportation is a must

Dark clouds were rolling in on Saturday as I sat in our Sylva office while Western North Carolina’s original environmental festival — Greening Up the Mountains — was in full swing on the streets below. With me were two idealists,…
Wednesday, 02 May 2007 00:00

Fluffy turns out to be a greaser

By Stephanie Wampler My fluffy white dog was no longer white — his snout was grey with grease, the hair slicked back from his nose. My cheerful dog was not so cheerful — he was sprawled across the couch, stomach…
Imagine how this scenario could work, if it was a reality: a state Department of Transportation in lockstep with the wishes of the state’s citizenry, an organization that went to great lengths to work with towns, counties and other entities…
Wednesday, 25 April 2007 00:00

Two Poems by Zora Walker

The Man in the Pickup Truck You may be a man who drives a cadillac and lives in a big house on a hill. You may run a big corporation and come and go as you will. You may have…
Wednesday, 25 April 2007 00:00

No time for sentimentality

By Dawn Gilchrist Young   “ ... and all day I turn over my own best thoughts, each one as heavy and slow to flow as a stone in a field full of wet and tossing flowers.” — Mary Oliver…
Wednesday, 25 April 2007 00:00

Haywood nurses frustrated by changes

Editor’s note: A group of nurses who work at the Haywood Regional Medical Center Emergency Room recently contacted The Smoky Mountain News. They said that during the controversy over the firing of Haywood Emergency Physicians, which took place last December,…
Wednesday, 25 April 2007 00:00

Media blew it at Virginia Tech

The same popular culture that some have alleged to produce yet another mass murderer wasted no time in trying to explain him to us in the hours and days following the massacre at Virginia Tech last week.
The expansion announced last week by Smoky Mountain Biofuels and Mountain Energy will help place Western North Carolina at the forefront of a homegrown energy industry that holds great promise for the region and the country.
Wednesday, 18 April 2007 00:00

I know just what you’re thinking ...

Call me a little superstitious, but I defend my right to harbor a few fears. That’s why, after breaking my ankle and wearing a cast for nine weeks, I waited almost eight weeks after the darn thing was off before…
Wednesday, 18 April 2007 00:00

Let’s stop the hypocrisy

Thank goodness for Don Imus. After 25 years of gutteral lyrics in the name of entertainment, none of which was protested, banned, boycotted or demonstrated against by the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, the Imus faux pas has…
Wednesday, 11 April 2007 00:00

Landing jobs should be part of the mix

By Becky Anderson This is the time for members of the 2007 North Carolina General Assembly to follow their hearts and love for this state and approve a significant increase in funding for land and water conservation in our state…
Wednesday, 11 April 2007 00:00

Some people — all the time

Some people complain all the time, about everything. They complain about the weather, the price of gasoline, their neglectful friends, the ratio of cashews in the average can of mixed nuts. Everything is a conspiracy against them.
Wednesday, 11 April 2007 00:00

Cousin Eugene fights the train

By Carl Iobst Ed Stephens of Dillsboro recently had a problem with the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad. According to the Sylva Herald, Stephens said the railroad is abandoning old train cars on his property. Stephens “called them and asked them…
He’s on record, and we for one will hold him to it: Haywood County’s new solid waste director says anything that “can be recycled should be.”
It’s not clear what Swain County commissioners are hoping to accomplish by turning over to the District Attorney’s office the investigation into the way the sheriff’s office handled excess meal money, but there’s evidence that a long list of people…
Wednesday, 28 March 2007 00:00

Be a sport, get involved in Senior Games

By Dick and Sandy Michener Are you a serious competitor or a weekend athlete? Are you an accomplished artist or a hobbyist? Regardless of your abilities and goals, you have a place in the 2007 Haywood County Senior Games (and…
Wednesday, 28 March 2007 00:00

Granny’s Farm and the boys from Chicago

By Jim Joyce My great- grandparents, on my mother’s side, “Bestafahr” and “Bestamour” (Nelson and Christiana Wurtz) emigrated from Denmark to the United States in 1867. The newlyweds traveled by boat to New York City and by train to Chicago…
Wednesday, 28 March 2007 00:00

Another deadline – not a problem

Everywhere I go, I get the same question: “How do you do it? How do you find the time and energy to write a column when you have a full-time job and a family, especially when you’re in charge of…
Wednesday, 28 March 2007 00:00

In truth, boating won’t harm the Chattooga

By Bruce Hare • Guest Columnist I would like to respond to Mr. James Costa’s letter (March 14, The Smoky Mountain News) expressing his concern about kayaking and canoeing on the headwaters of the Wild and Scenic Chattooga River.
Being environmentally conscious has become mainstream, but we still have a long way to go before mankind figures out how to live and prosper without negatively impacting the very earth that sustains us. A relatively new front raising awareness in…
Wednesday, 21 March 2007 00:00

Giving up too much for fear

There’s been a lot of discussion about the attack on the student in the cafeteria of Tuscola High School a few weeks ago where one student beat up another and inflicted some relatively serious injuries. Apparently it wasn’t the guilty…
Wednesday, 21 March 2007 00:00

A mother’s remedy for shark attacks

By Stephanie Wampler It was one of those days .... One of those days when an unnecessarily shrill alarm clock tears you from deep slumber, when you swing out of bed and land your foot on a particularly sharp Lego,…
Wednesday, 21 March 2007 00:00

Contacting my hirsute love

Back in the early 1950s when Western Carolina University was still Western Carolina Teachers College, I got a crush on a feisty little co-ed named Hedy West during my sophomore year. Hedy played a banjo and sang exhilarating songs about…
Wednesday, 14 March 2007 00:00

A new approach to smart growth

“What we’re trying to do here is reduce the impact of development. That’s really what conservation is, the wise use of resources.” — Blair Bishop, Haywood Community College How come this isn’t done all the time?
Wednesday, 14 March 2007 00:00

Protecting the best of mountain culture

“The highest form of morality is not to feel at home in one’s own home.” “What has become alien to men is the human component of culture — which upholds them against the world.” — Theodor Adorno, social critic and…
Wednesday, 14 March 2007 00:00

High time for a new morning ritual

I don’t wear a watch. Why should I? Everywhere I look, I see the time of day. In fact, no matter where I go or how hard I try, I can’t seem to escape the passage of time. It’s on…
By James Costa • Guest Columnist There has been much discussion in recent weeks regarding the notion of opening the upper Chattooga River to boating. As a biologist and as a longtime resident of the Southern Appalachian region, I have…
Wednesday, 07 March 2007 00:00

Tax policy can help save rural land

By Susan Ervin • Guest Columnist The recent tax revaluations in Macon County have many people worried — not just about their own tax bill, which is plenty to worry about when your property value suddenly increases three-fold — but…
Wednesday, 07 March 2007 00:00

Easley’s budget goes wrong way on lottery

Gov. Mike Easley’s proposed budget would decrease the portion of lottery proceeds going to education — before legislators have a chance to fix an already unfair funding formula that shorts the western part of the state — a gamble that…
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 00:00

The day Uncle Curtis’ rabbits did the town

By Carl Iobst Well if this don’t beat all. Over in eastern Germany where lederhosen, apple strudel, and skinheads are tourist attractions, Karl Szmolinsky is fixin’ to feed the world’s hungry. Maybe not the whole world, but you’ve got to…
The Jackson County commissioners should move forward with their temporary subdivision moratorium, notwithstanding all the concerns that have been raised about this proposal.
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 00:00

Now what will the wagging tongues talk about?

Jack Cox and Kayden Zollinger (soon to be Cox, pending paperwork) are proud — and relieved — to announce the marriage of their parents, Chris Cox and Tammy Jo Schroth. The two were married without apparent warning in an impossibly…
Wednesday, 05 June 2013 00:00

Jackson did not spend $50,000 wisely

To the Editor: My first reaction to the county brand “Play On” was that it must be April 1. Quickly determining it was not, my second thought was, you gotta be kidding, the TDA in Jackson County didn’t really pay…
To the Editor: Macon County commissioners can re-sponsibly reduce the property tax. The county manager’s proposed 2014 general fund budget totals $46.6 million with no change in property tax rates. Commissioners Ron Haven and Paul Higdon have publicly proposed reducing…
Wednesday, 05 June 2013 00:00

Legislative moves will harm rural N.C.

To the Editor: We are well into this Legislature’s session. The governor has put forward his budget. The Senate has proposed its version, and the House is still crafting its spending plan. But instead of going forward together, building one North…
It was a great day for a picnic … or a baseball game. The sun hung there above the horizon like a hanging curveball, warm and inviting, and the air was as still as a sleeping cat curled up in…
By David Redman • Guest Columnist There is absolutely no doubt about the economic impact the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and its Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Hotel operation have in Western North Carolina.Over the past 10 years the facility…
Wednesday, 21 February 2007 00:00

Common goal is the same – a thriving downtown

Downtown Sylva is a special place. The events of the last couple of months only reinforce that fact, and so the momentum to create a better, closer and more unified business community should continue.
Wednesday, 21 February 2007 00:00

Ask not what your county can do for you

Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of their county. Ask not what your county can do for you, but what you can do for your county.
Wednesday, 14 February 2007 00:00

Tipping one back with Baby

By Carl Iobst Gee, what’ll they think of next. In Olympia, the capital of Washington state, there’s a state representative that’s proposing that dogs be allowed to drink in bars. Well not exactly drink, although I’m sure that some dog…
Wednesday, 14 February 2007 00:00

Technology can help us beat global warming

By Doug Wingier • Guest Columnist We American consumers are richer than most in the world, and as voters more powerful. Yet as one wave of technological change after another washes over us, we tend to accept each as inevitable…
Gambling at the Harrah’s casino in Cherokee is wildly successful. That success — and the state’s own actions — makes Gov. Mike Easley’s resistance to the use of live dealers slightly ridiculous and enormously hypocritical.
Wednesday, 14 February 2007 00:00

A real-life love story – sort of

It’s an old story, the only one worth telling, really, especially here on Valentine’s Day. It’s a love story, the lengths that we will go to, etcetera.
Wednesday, 07 February 2007 00:00

Jackson leaders take a bold – and wise – step

Jackson County took the first step this week to ban new subdivisions until it can write an ordinance to control the proliferation of new developments within its borders. By doing so, its county commissioners proved they have a mettle that…
Wednesday, 31 January 2007 00:00

A better future for the Pigeon

Few rivers have been the focus of as much controversy over the last century as the Pigeon, a fact that makes it worthwhile to also celebrate the victories as the controversy fades away and a whole new era emerges. A…
Wednesday, 24 January 2007 00:00

Remembering the spirit of Saide Luck

I grew up thinking that libraries had a lot in common with churches. I guess I need to explain that.
Wednesday, 24 January 2007 00:00

Filling in the blanks ain’t always easy

When my nephew came walking in with a letter from one of our state’s universities, he handled it like something valuable, a precious jewel, perhaps, or a map that would lead him to a world he suspected was out there…
Sometimes, change is for the good.
Wednesday, 17 January 2007 00:00

Encountering my own inner goddess

By Stephanie Wampler I begin this article with a momentous announcement. This announcement will, I think, bring a general feeling of gladness to the community. (Drum roll ...) Everyone, I want to tell you that I recently found my inner goddess.
Wednesday, 17 January 2007 00:00

We’re all special, according to Time

When I saw that I had been named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year,” the first thing I felt like doing was calling my high school science teacher, Emmy Lu Godwin. Mrs. Godwin was as small as an action figure…
Wednesday, 10 January 2007 00:00

County must take role in new Jackson EDC

The business sector in Jackson County will benefit from the renewed efforts to establish a working Economic Development Commission.
Wednesday, 10 January 2007 00:00

Overcoming a dysfunctional relationship

Haywood Regional Medical Center, the entire medical community and its volunteer board of directors have some work to do. That is, they do if they want to protect the hospital’s competitive position in this region. Repairing the damage done by…
Sometime before daylight on the day before Christmas Eve, Tammy and I were gently nudged out of sleep by a small, familiar voice.
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 00:00

Hopeful thinking for the coming year

New Year’s resolutions? Don’t believe in most of them, especially those that are akin to a miracle diet or those no-risk investments tips that keep junking up the inbox in our email program. A sound resolution is more of a…
Wednesday, 27 December 2006 00:00

Abandoned library 06

Well I just received a hurriedly written letter from 2006. (It was on a page torn from a Gideon Bible). She asked that I forward her belongings to an address in Music City, and that she was sorry for the…
Wednesday, 27 December 2006 00:00

Reality, outcomes and education spending

This deserves emphasis, given the central role that public education plays in North Carolina political debate: our schools have vastly more resources to work with than they did a generation ago.
Wednesday, 27 December 2006 00:00

It is a sad day, indeed

Thursday night, the Haywood Regional Medical Center Board chose to breach the hospital’s contract with Haywood Emergency Physicians rather than consider mediation, as proposed by the medical staff.
Wednesday, 27 December 2006 00:00

Give the lasting gift of independent media

Several years ago, as Christmas approached, I remember my youngest daughter saying, “I can’t imagine what I want for Christmas; I have everything I could possibly need.” She grew up and no longer says such things in anticipation of Christmas…
Wednesday, 27 December 2006 00:00

Selling national forest land is just a bad idea

The proposed sale of U.S. Forest Service land to find money for counties who have lost revenue from declining timber sales is just a bad idea, a product of the Bush Administration’s fiscal indulgences rather than well thought-out land management…
Wednesday, 20 December 2006 00:00

Temporary high-rise ban a wise move

The last thing Macon County — or any of the counties west of Asheville — needs is a high-rise condominium development. Commissioners in that county made a wise move Monday to enact a moratorium on any construction over 48-feet in…
Wednesday, 20 December 2006 00:00

Affordable college is available

By Bill Rhodarmer I read with interest a recent column in a local news publication concerning the high cost of a college education and the debt often incurred by students and families — up to $50,000 for a four-year degree.…
Wednesday, 13 December 2006 00:00

Reinstating draft could be a good thing

Jan. 20, 1961. Inauguration Day. The words that stuck in the minds and hearts of all citizens: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” said President John F. Kennedy.
Wednesday, 13 December 2006 00:00

The joy of jogging was the eating

There was a time, about 18 years and 80 pounds ago, that I actually enjoyed jogging. I was never exactly a marathon man, but I could run six miles without much problem.
Wednesday, 06 December 2006 00:00

Sylva’s elected leaders should take the lead

Downtown Sylva Association members are doing all the legwork on discussing the creation of a special downtown taxing district. At a point in the near future, however, town of Sylva leaders are going to be forced to take a stand…
Wednesday, 06 December 2006 00:00

Backroom deals should all just go away

In the years I’ve been going to Swain County, David Monteith has emerged as a barometer of sorts. One may disagree with Monteith on a particular issue, but the independent-thinking county commissioner can almost always be counted on to vote…
Wednesday, 12 June 2013 00:00

Cutting courthouse trees was a disgrace

To the Editor: I have returned to Waynesville for the summer. I drove past the courthouse and could not believe the destruction of those magnificent trees! Shame on the person or persons who ordered this, and shame, shame on the…
Wednesday, 12 June 2013 00:00

Rep. Meadows becomes Tea Party poster boy

To the Editor: Rep. Mark Meadows would like us to think of him as a “moderate or centrist Republican” (SMN, June 5, 2013) in spite of voting 97 percent of the time with his extremist party in the U.S. House.…
Wednesday, 12 June 2013 00:00

Let’s stop the senseless civilian deaths

To the Editor:  At this Memorial Day time of year, we not only honor veterans but also mourn the recent tragic loss of life on American soil — at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, the Boston Marathon, the Texas plant explosion, the…
Wednesday, 12 June 2013 00:00

GOP leadership wasting money, time and more

To the Editor: The 2013 legislation coming out of Raleigh is bad enough to cause sleepless nights and worried man blues over the future of fair elections in North Carolina. Starting in 2016, we will be required in defense of…
To the Editor: Recently I saw Ralph Laughter, chairman of Macon County’s “Me Party.” We talked about his letter to the editor in several newspapers praising the work of North Carolina’s GOP legislators. “I heard their legislation is rather draconian,”…
Wednesday, 12 June 2013 00:00

Pay on, Jackson residents, pay on

To the Editor: It is true I have been accused of being a negative person concerning a few of the letters I have written to the editor. I don’t think pointing out the obvious is being negative, but what can…
To the Editor: Thank you for your coverage of the historic return of Hall Mountain to the Cherokees (www.smokymountainnews.com/outdoors/item/10467). While the story was good and provided valuable perspectives on the event, it nonetheless failed to mention the role of The Wilderness…
By Doug Woodward • Guest Columnist What entity in our community serves the needs of every one of our citizens, whether that person is 3 years old or has been around for 90 years? And what place is this which can…
Listen! Did you hear that? I’ve been hearing it for weeks now, the faint but steadily growing whisper of something approaching. From the east, I hear ... Dum, dummity, dum, dum! Me and my drummm ....” Heard that, didn’t you?…
Wednesday, 29 November 2006 00:00

The meaning of this one escapes me

When tragedy strikes and someone we know is suddenly gone, we are still compelled to go looking for them in some strange, sad way. We find them in memories so bright, vivid, and distinct that it seems we could simply…
Wednesday, 29 November 2006 00:00

Haywood slope law not as good as it could be

Here’s the main problem with the slope development ordinance passed last week by Haywood County commissioners: it wasn’t the ordinance the public had a chance to discuss and debate at the public hearing held just over a month ago.
Wednesday, 29 November 2006 00:00

What the system needs now

By Mark Jaben In an earlier column, I discussed whether cutting costs should be the underlying motive for our health care system. Unfortunately, there is something even more fundamental that has been cut along the way.
To the Editor: Bob Wilson’s recent column in a local publication condemning a liberal arts college education is full of contradiction and misinformation. The point he tried to make was that today’s very expensive college degree should be focused on…