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By Bruce Hare • Guest Columnist In response to your article (“Tug of War over the Chattooga River,” May 31 Smoky Mountain News), I would like to thank you for reporting on an issue that is important to me and…
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 13:43

Franklin Gem Museum is a gem indeed

To the Editor: What to do?  On a recent pouring-down-rain Saturday when my daughter and grandsons were here for their annual three-day visit ... the boys opted for “let’s go to the movies” and moaned and groaned when I dragged…
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 13:43

The flim-flam men at work in Jackson

To the Editor: I thought that I would warn you about a multimillion dollar foreign-owned operation that is attempting to con and manipulate elected officials here in Jackson County out of millions of your money for their personal gain. Heery…
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 13:42

GOP leaders take on regulatory reform

To the Editor: Now that the state legislature is in short session, one of the themes is regulatory reform.  Let’s examine what their version of reform has meant to you so far.   Until the ash spill, Duke Power has…
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 13:42

Bear shooter should be prosecuted

To the Editor: On Monday June 2, a man shot and killed a bear because she supposedly tried to attack him on his porch in Maggie Valley. He also said that she had been in his bird feeder and then…
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 13:41

Standing up for Haywood GOP and its future

To the Editor: I am a 55-year-old native of Haywood County, who has been a registered Republican from the time I turned 18. I am writing this in response to all the negative articles written about the Haywood GOP and…
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 13:39

If war is not the answer, then what is?

By Doug Wingeier • Columnist A group calling ourselves “Neighbors for Peace” have been holding a peace vigil in front of the Haywood County Courthouse nearly every Wednesday — rain or shine — since before the start of “Shock and…
Wednesday, 31 May 2006 00:00

Gibson case highlights larger problems

When the jury came back with a not guilty verdict in the case against Michelle Gibson, many across the country let out a collective sigh of relief. Gibson had been charged with second-degree murder after her 8-year-old son died from…
Wednesday, 31 May 2006 00:00

Making Jennings Randolph proud

Jennings Randolph does not leap from the pages of history. Perhaps he should. His likeness is not found on any T-shirts, but perhaps it should be, especially of those graduating from high school. No, Jennings Randolph was not a founding…
Wednesday, 31 May 2006 00:00

Personal heart therapy with Homer Harris

I have found that not being able to hear in a crowded room is a constant frustration. Usually, when people talk to me in an earnest fashion, I take the path of least resistance and pretend to understand. That is…
Wednesday, 31 May 2006 00:00

The art of the graduation speech

A few years ago, I was asked to give the keynote speech for an area high school’s graduation ceremony. At first, I thought one of my so-called friends must be playing a joke on me. Why would anyone want a…
Wednesday, 24 May 2006 00:00

The test, and nothing but the test

I don’t bash public schools. My wife’s a teacher, my children have gotten a great education at these schools, and we’ve been able to solve every major problem that ever arose with a teacher.
Back last fall, about the time the Jackson County Library controversy mutated into an issue with all of the appeal of a dead mule in doorway of the Town Hall, I decided to give up my role as “gadfly.” I…
Wednesday, 24 May 2006 00:00

An encore for mama

By Joanne Meyer • Guest Columnist A soft, spring breeze wafted through the open window, sending a sheer, cafe curtain dancing across the strings of a mandolin leaning upright against the back of a chair. The sound the instrument produced…
Wednesday, 17 May 2006 00:00

Tammy deserved better

Mother’s Day was probably not everything Tammy had hoped for. She may have had visions of sleeping in until 9 or even 10 a.m., then being served breakfast in bed: cinnamon and apple muffins, a western omelet, a medley of…
Wednesday, 17 May 2006 00:00

Osteoporosis is real – get tested

By Darcia Bondurant I would like to think of myself as a healthy, 46-year-old woman. My weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol are all good. I know I need to exercise more, but who doesn’t?
Wednesday, 17 May 2006 00:00

Leadership is all about good ideas

Ideas. Those who have them become leaders and gravitate to places where they can implement them. All of the counties of Western North Carolina, including Haywood, need leaders with fresh ideas if we are to confront a future that is…
Wednesday, 17 May 2006 00:00

Becoming one with the multi-taskers

By Stephanie Wampler • Guest Columnist Multi-tasking? Not me. Or so I’ve always thought.
Around the region and throughout the world, there’s a lot going on right now. My “column ideas” folder runneth over, so here’s a little house cleaning, a few random thoughts as the news keep churning:
By Lee Shelton Those who stated that Haywood County Commission Chairman Mark Swanger, who lost in last week’s primary election, was “over managing” or interfering are wrong. He was just doing the job that he was elected to do by…
Wednesday, 03 May 2006 00:00

The past, present and future on Alarka

By Dawn Gilchrist-Young (Editor’s note: Writer Dawn Gilchrist-Young is conducting a series of interviews with mountain natives to gauge their reaction to changes taking place in the region and their memories of the past. These stories will appear intermittently in The…
Wednesday, 03 May 2006 00:00

The life-long legacy of a few brushmarks

By Lew Garnett Without his ever knowing it, Blaine Richardson was one of my heroes. It was a recent breezy Saturday at our karate school, where over the past few years I’d fought a sharp contest between my 50-year-old body…
Wednesday, 03 May 2006 00:00

Declare war on incumbents

By Marshall Frank • Columnist Time to send a message to our government leaders. Our democracy is ruled by the will of the people. It appears our president, and our senators and congressional representatives from both parties have forgotten that.
Every year when the local tailgate farmers markets begin opening, it’s a good time to ponder just what it means to be able to hop down to some designated spot and buy produce, flowers and other goods fresh from a…
Wednesday, 03 May 2006 00:00

Frank may be gone, but not frugality

Some people say I can be cheap, or at the very least, my priorities are out of whack. They say, “You’ll spend $30 for a bottle of wine, but won’t spend 30 to get that dent in your car fixed.”…
Wednesday, 26 April 2006 00:00

Get over the fear and say it: ZONING is GOOD

Note to all candidates seeking office in Western North Carolina, and all their constituents: repeat these words, over and over — zoning, land use, high-impact ordinances, long-range planning, master planning. Say them again, and try to get over the fear…
Wednesday, 26 April 2006 00:00

Get ready for the backroom abortionists

Three cheers for crime. If moralists have their way, it will only get worse. How coincidental that within three short weeks of Justice Sam Alito’s long-anticipated confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, the anti-abortion lobby of South Dakota suddenly convinced…
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

Baseball’s scapegoat

San Francisco Giant outfielder Barry Bonds is the greatest baseball player of this era, and one can make a good argument that he is the greatest player in history. Bonds will almost certainly pass the legendary Babe Ruth on the…
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

Mixed drinks won’t be good for Sylva

By Jason Kimenker • Guest Columnist What makes Sylva great? The people of rural Sylva, North Carolina are as unique as this area is beautiful. This small mountain town is so loved by tens of thousands of visitors year-round. With…
Wednesday, 19 April 2006 00:00

Taylor tangled in Abramoff’s web

The recent revelations about Rep. Charles Taylor’s ties to a lobbyist who has confessed to federal bribery charges is a serious problem for this region’s Congressman, a controversy that calls into question his ethics and reveals close ties to the…
Wednesday, 12 April 2006 00:00

Forging a wise immigration bill

Amnesty? In the immigration controversy that is dividing Congress and the nation, this has become the most misused term in the politician’s vernacular. It’s being used as wedge by those who favor a policy that is heavy on relentless enforcement…
The words still ring in my ears, coming as they did from a teacher who had spent years playing by the book: “I’ve got to spend the money by the end of the school year or it’s gone, so I’m…
It’s past time to keep rehashing the same old arguments about whether having a state lottery is a good idea. It’s on the books and operating now, and it’s impossible to imagine ever going backward.
Wednesday, 05 April 2006 00:00

Slaves to titillating news and ....

You have already read or heard about the three guys who were arrested for “operating” — yeah, I guess the pun is intended, although I should probably cut it out (stop it, NOW!) — a sadomasochistic castration dungeon here in…
Wednesday, 29 March 2006 00:00

A public grace worth emulating

By Stephanie Wampler I didn’t know her. I never met her. I haven’t even read that much about her. I saw lots of pictures of her husband, but not so many of her. The pictures of her were always with…
Wednesday, 29 March 2006 00:00

Media consolidation just ain’t good

It happened months back, but the request was typical of what we hear everyday in this business: will you do a story about us? That’s a request I like to get. We are, after all, in the business of telling…
There’s no more pressing issue in this region than enacting ordinances to control steep slope development. If we snooze on this one, then everyone from town dwellers to those living in the rural countryside will suffer the consequences for years…
Wednesday, 18 June 2014 13:56

Science helps us find God’s truths

To the Editor: I am writing this letter for the sakes of my fellow creationists and any questioning minds who may be concerned about an argument, by Neil deGrasse Tyson, mentioned in the last edition of “The Naturalist’s Corner.” I…
Wednesday, 18 June 2014 13:55

GOP works to make Haywood better

To the Editor: This is in response to Mitchell E. Powell’s letter to the editor, “‘Group is hurting Haywood GOP,” in the June 4 edition of The Smoky Mountain News. Powell attended only a few meetings in his short stint…
By Kathy Ross • Guest Columnist In the last few weeks, I’ve been stuck between speaking my mind and doing what is best for my community. I hate it when systems operate that way, always believing wide-open debate is the best…
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 13:59

A lesson in equality and economy 101

To the Editor: We continually hear the myth about how the rich are greedy, but what we don’t hear is how greedy a high school dropout can be or the union workers who want more money or even those on…
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 13:58

Please be smart about black bears

To the Editor: Thank you for Holly Kays’ excellent article covering the recent shooting of a bear in Maggie Valley, leaving behind three orphaned cubs. This was a needless tragedy, and I fear that others may feel emboldened to take…
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 13:58

Get facts about teacher pay, performance

To the Editor: Having lived in North Carolina for a year, I’ve noticed that low teacher salaries are a hot topic. (For the record, I teach in a private school where we earn even less than the public sector). But…
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 13:56

All that talk of the tourists? True that

True story. My wife Lori and I were enjoying a delicious, refreshing IPA at the Wedge Brewery on Sunday afternoon, rewarding ourselves after a brutal trail run in the mid-day heat at Bent Creek (brutal, at least, by my estimation;…
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 00:00

Litter in Sunburst was just heartbreaking

To the Editor: I am writing today with a heavy heart. I am saddened, frustrated and embarrassed. We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, and the fact that I have to pick up garbage everywhere…
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 00:00

Let’s stop yellow journalism politics

To the Editor: I am a politician — a local one — and while I make jokes about politics, I take the work seriously because it’s an opportunity to make changes that benefit people. To get elected, I talked about…
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 00:00

State lawmakers are shifting tax burden

To the Editor: Actions speak louder than words. North Carolina residents need to pay attention. The loud, false, words of the Republican legislators in Raleigh attempt to drown out the truth. Republicans claim to be the party of less big…
A few weeks ago, my brother called me to ask if I thought he should apply for the job as president of Wilkes Community College. I have been teaching in the community college system for 23 years and was a…
By Martin A. Dyckman • Guest Columnist Although Kansas is among the reddest of red states, its Republican governor, Sam Brownback, is in big trouble. Current polls show his Democratic challenger ahead, 47 to 41. Are pigs flying? The reasons should…
To the Editor: I have never met George Ellison, but I am appalled as a result of his referring to Granville Calhoun as an untruthful person in a column published back in November 2013.  I am a great niece of…
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 03:29

Time to accept reality of climate change

To the Editor: Alduous Huxley once said, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” Recently, in a conversation with a friend, somehow the talk turned toward the subject of climate change. While he did not deny that…
To the Editor: The cage is open and the monster is on the loose. Despite promises of comprehensive safeguards for the health and safety of affected North Carolinians, Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, and Rep. Roger West, R-Marble, knocked the door…
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 03:25

Changing mind now won’t undo the damage

“Absolutely ridiculous.” Those are the words of Rep. Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville, to describe the actions of Rep. Michelle Presnell, R-Burnsville, who has twice in two consecutive legislative sessions stopped in its tracks a bill that would merge Lake Junaluska…
Wednesday, 15 March 2006 00:00

Savoring the coming political season

When the political season cranks up, as it’s about to, this business gets a lot more fun. I’m one of those who believe newspapers are the best place to learn about candidates’ positions. We, along with the other print journalists…
Wednesday, 08 March 2006 00:00

So many reasons to oppose forest sale

“This is an administration that believes in natural resource exploitation, and hang any future cost to the public owners. This is not incompetence at work (as some might say, looking at Iraq or Katrina), but ideology, and these people are…
Wednesday, 08 March 2006 00:00

Radical Islam is infiltrating U.S.

By Marshall Frank “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.” — Ariel Durant, author and historian Not long ago, I was encouraged by a publishing company to write a book on the…
Wednesday, 08 March 2006 00:00

We admired Andy but related to Barney

We lost Barney Fife last week. When the news came that Don Knotts had died of pulmonary and respiratory failure in California at the age of 81, those of us who have always counted “The Andy Griffith Show” pretty high…
Wednesday, 01 March 2006 00:00

Power carries a yoke of responsibility

By Michael Beadle • Columnist The recent worldwide protests against cartoons depicting the Islamic prophet Mohammed have given humanity a chance to take a closer look at itself, and it’s not a pretty sight. Too often the opportunity for self-examination…
Wednesday, 01 March 2006 00:00

No loaves, just fish ... sticks

I pride myself on being a good cook. After 10 years of effort, I have finally mastered homemade cinnamon rolls. Entire batches have been known to disappear in seconds. I can cook suppers dripping with cheeses and overflowing with tangy…
There’s really not much to say except this: why has it taken so long? The Haywood County School Board apparently is going to pass a ban on tobacco products at schools and all school-related events, including football games, graduation ceremonies,…
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 13:40

A few problems with one-sided letter

To the Editor: In his column, Martin Dyckman disparages supply-side economics but contradicts himself two paragraphs later stating that teachers are leaving North Carolina, supposedly for higher salaries.  Jude Wanniski, a leading proponent of supply-side economics, observed that whatever our…
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 13:39

Your property rights are at risk

To the Editor: Republican Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, co-sponsored SB 786, which is now law. • It fast tracked fracking in North Carolina. Fracking is a process of selecting some chemicals from a toxic group of about 600 types which are then mixed with about…
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 13:38

The truth about Common Core

To the Editor: Common Core and understanding the ramifications of the future of our children’s education are something all citizens of the United States of America should be aware.  My granddaughter advised me that she could not read my handwritten…
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 13:35

Can anyone afford to get sick?

By John Beckman • Guest Columnist About eight months ago I had a misunderstanding with a pile of lumber which, when resolved, left me with shattered right wrist. Yes, that right wrist, just like the one you use everyday. Two…
Wednesday, 22 February 2006 00:00

With Mike gone, train’s call is truly lonesome

Mike and I were not exactly a match made in heaven. In fact, I didn’t think we were much of a match at all. At the time we were “introduced,” I lived in a tiny rented house with an equally…
Wednesday, 22 February 2006 00:00

A thank you for helping hands

Editor’s note: Barbara McCarty worked on a flood task force that allocated more than $800,000 in private donations to victims of the 2004 floods. This column focuses on the contributions of business that agreed to accept vouchers from flood victims…
Wednesday, 22 February 2006 00:00

Open government always a good thing

It’s easy for elected leaders to say they support open government. Proving that support is something altogether different and more difficult. A recent case in Jackson County highlights what often happens in real life. A judge last week ruled that…
Wednesday, 15 February 2006 00:00

TDA board on track, confident in director

By Dori Pope • Guest columnist I recently had the honor and exciting challenge of being voted the Chair of the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority. As the new chair, I should share current business and future goals of the…
“It’s going to be a bit of a change, but change is not always bad. This is just one little story in our evolution as a people.” — Mary Jane Ferguson, a board member for the Cherokee Historical Association, speaking…
Wednesday, 15 February 2006 00:00

Small towns make for different news

I remember the specific moment in my journalism career when I sealed my future as a small-town newspaperman. I was at my third newspaper job out of college, had moved up to successively larger publications, and an offer came to…
Wednesday, 15 February 2006 00:00

A primer on the right way to use a gun

By Sarah Kucharski On a chilly, rain soaked Sunday morning the last weekend of January I stood under a peaked, sheet metal roof at the Moss Gap shooting range on the Jackson/Macon line, staring down at a loaded Glock Model…
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 14:05

Column blaming Rep. Presnell was wrong

To the Editor: The column by Editor Scott McLeod two weeks ago taking after Rep. Michelle Presnell, R-Burnsville, for stopping the annexation —involuntary annexation to many property owners — seems to rely on the false premise that local bills result…
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 14:04

Man of action and education proves popular

There are movies that I simply cannot turn off once I stumble into them when I am switching channels, which I do whenever there is a commercial, as men have been hardwired to do since the dawn of the remote…
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 00:00

Religion and public schools a volatile mix

When a high school biology teacher in Macon County asked students to compare evolution and creation from a scientific perspective, he was treading too close to the Supreme Court’s long-held directive that mandates the separation of church and state. It’s…
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 00:00

Customers say restaurant grades matter

Editor’s note: Last week The Smoky Mountain News cover story was about cleanliness at restaurants and what health department inspectors look for when they grade them. As we found out by interviewing several people, most do look to see what…
Wednesday, 08 February 2006 00:00

Looking in on the iPod cocoon

It is now official. I am not young anymore. I guess I should have paid more attention to the signs, and perhaps it wouldn’t come as such a shock, but I didn’t and it does. My youth has expired, gone…
Wednesday, 01 February 2006 00:00

The difference between precaution and fear

By Lee Shelton I found Scott McLeod’s column, “Living in Fear....” , in theJan. 18 issue of the Smoky Mountain News very thought provoking. Following are some other thoughts on the subject from a contra-view point. We live — and…
To the Editor: The issue of fracking by the oil and gas industry — already one of the most controversial issues of our time — is not a political issue, but one which has the potential to forever alter the…
To the Editor: Most letters to the editor are benign or overly active, but the one in the July 2 edition of The Smoky Mountain News (“Let’s stop yellow journalism politics,” July 2, 2014, The Smoky Mountain News, www.smokymountainnews.com/opinion/item/13676) was…
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 13:06

Honest survey or deceitful phone ad?

To the Editor: Recently “SSI” surveys popped up on my called ID and in a moment of curiosity I answered my phone. I figured it was a political questionnaire and it was. What I didn’t anticipate was a veiled attempt…
Most anyone who has worked for a living, volunteered, or held elected office has stood at the edge of the abyss, looked over it, and made a very important decision: complete honesty and unyielding integrity, or maybe a little dishonesty,…
Wednesday, 25 January 2006 00:00

The vicarious lives of parents

I wasn’t very good at sports when I was a kid. I wanted to be good — the star of the team, the captain, the leading scorer, the clutch player — but I was barely good enough to make the…
Wednesday, 25 January 2006 00:00

Celebrating culture and the need for a library

There are many worthwhile upshots from The Sounds of Jackson County recording project, but two stand out among them: one, that something special can indeed happen when a community comes together; and two, the support for a new Sylva library…
Wednesday, 06 August 2014 13:24

N.C. citizens do not want fracking

To the Editor: “I not only voted for the law, I was one of the co-sponsors,” Davis said. “I’m really comfortable with what they’ve done.” “Overwhelmingly, they’re against fracking,” he said. “I think those people are concerned. My background is…
Wednesday, 06 August 2014 13:23

Sylva’s ETJ attempt a bad idea

To the Editor: Paige Roberson, Sylva’s town manager, says she would be surprised if anyone opposes Sylva’s plans to extend its ETJ expanding territorial jurisdiction). That may be a perfect example of confirmation bias at work. Ms. Roberson may not…
Wednesday, 06 August 2014 13:21

Visions of a kitten color this beach trip

EDISTO ISLAND, S.C. – My daughter has ordered an elaborate omelet, with spinach and cheese and who knows what else, but she seems to have lost all interest in actually eating it.  Instead, she pokes listlessly at one edge, as…
(Editor’s note: Haywood County Manager Jack Horton tendered his resignation to the board of commissioners on Jan. 3. The three commissioners who wrote this letter supported his resignation.) This letter to the citizens of Haywood County sets forth our views…
Wednesday, 18 January 2006 00:00

Storytime just didn’t work out for me

By Stephanie Wampler One day last year, I had high hopes for a glorious time at the library. I envisioned smiling children listening attentively to the librarian, singing the innocent songs of childhood, learning all about the world around them.…
The proposal to hold a referendum on whether alcohol could be sold at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino was withdrawn before it got a formal hearing at a recent tribal council meeting. This is a potentially earth-moving change for the Eastern Bandof…
Wednesday, 18 January 2006 00:00

Living in fear of ... everything

It started over a discussion about the merits of that sanitizing gel that is now so often found in restrooms, grocery stores, gyms and elsewhere, the stuff that’s supposed to kill germs and stem the spread of colds and other…
Wednesday, 11 January 2006 00:00

A long history culminates in one tumultuous day

When Haywood County Manager Jack Horton was asked to resign or be fired last week, it was, potentially, a watershed political event for Haywood County. This upheaval probably won’t have a long-term impact on the prosperity of Haywood County, but…
By Lee Shelton The town limits of Maggie Valley encompass only 1.8 square miles, and there is only one commercial strip, which also serves as the sole access road for many of the residents in the area. It is also…
Wednesday, 04 January 2006 00:00

Empowered by Dr. Phil to entertain Jack

I’ve become hooked on Dr. Phil. Don’t ask me how it happened because I don’t know. He caught me unawares, I guess, creeping up on me during my fall break while I was innocently trying to feed my son, Jack,…
Wednesday, 13 August 2014 13:52

State gives lip service to fracking concerns

To the Editor: The Johnny-come-lately public hearing on fracking scheduled by the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission (MEC) at Western Carolina University on Sept. 12 appears to be nothing more than a public relations move to appease those Western Carolina…
Wednesday, 13 August 2014 13:51

Cell towers, fracking, and food trucks

To the Editor: First, kudos to Gerald Green and the Jackson County Planning Council for requiring Verizon to use cell tower designs that do not ruin our beautiful views. I applaud their continued work to ensure Verizon conforms to permit…
Wednesday, 13 August 2014 13:49

Is torture an aberration or a trend?

By Doug Wingeier • Columnist Based on actual events, the movie “The Railway Man” tells the story of how British soldiers captured by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore in 1942 were taken in boxcars four days north through…
George Ellison’s response to Gwen Breese’s letter regarding his article on Horace Kephart and his condition when he arrived at Hazel Creek states, correctly, that as someone who is working on a biography of Horace Kephart, he is “obligated to…
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 14:19

Is America’s future now the past?

To the Editor: “Freedom, freedom is a hard won thing and every generation has to win it again.” This is a refrain from a civil rights song from the sixties. My generation marched, staged sit-ins, spoke out and some even…
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 14:18

Why the raging war against fracking?

To the Editor: Have you wondered why worldwide the leftists, environmentalists, and most media are waging a war against that new dirty word — fracking? The answer is simple, and it has nothing to do with the hyperbole, misinformation and…