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I have not put the time into my garden this year that I usually do. Between a lack of rain early on and a failure to attend to weed pulling, the beds aren’t looking particularly attractive. Even given my unusual…
Wednesday, 15 June 2011 20:42

Expecting little, what we get is even less

Groucho Marx once said, “I wouldn’t want to be a member of any club that would have someone like me as a member.” When I graduated from high school, my fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Pattyrae Busic, gave me a beautiful edition…
By Zack Dean • Smoky Mtn. High School I had to work late on Nov. 4, so upon coming home that night I didn’t know what to expect. I walked into the living room to find a group of my…
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 13:18

Snow days are like heaven for 12-year-olds

You are 12 years old and it’s December and a school day. The days are shorter now, meaning it is still dark when the alarm clock blasts you out of your dreams like a cannonball fired at dawn in a…
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 13:18

Choices in home energy systems

By Avram Friedman • Executive Director, Canary Coalition Getting “off the grid” is more and more appealing to many of us as the cost of energy goes up and our awareness about the health and environmental impacts of coal and…
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 13:22

A reminder to keep the public in mind

“’Official meeting’ means a meeting, assembly, or gathering together at any time or place ... of a majority of the members of a public body for the purpose of conducting hearings, participating in deliberations, or voting upon or otherwise transacting…
By Dr. Allan Zacher, M.D. Flu season is here. You and your family and friends have not gotten it yet, but if you look at Google Flu Trends (http://www.google.org/flutrends/) you will see that we are on the early part of…
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 14:25

Come rain, snow or cold, holiday lights go up

By David Curtis If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a noise? If a man is putting up Christmas lights and his wife is not there to supervise, is…
By Linda McFarland • Guest Columnist Here we are in the holidays, the most sacred and profane time of year. When we yearn for simple pleasures and traditions, for celebrations which affirm connection and presence, how do we find meaning…
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 14:35

Don’t jump up and do anything

With Clayton Cathey On a weekday afternoon the Walker Service Station in Waynesville is busy with a steady stream of customers dropping off and picking up their cars. A woman sits, sipping coffee and reading the newspaper in a sunny…
As the economic picture gets more and more bleak, the ironies loom larger and larger. Public school systems, community colleges and the state’s universities are being asked to send money back to the state or plan reductions in the coming…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:08

No guns, no bikes, and no dogs

By Danny Bernstein • Guest Columnist Our national parks have been assaulted by new rulings in the closing days of the Bush Administration. Users and lovers of the national parks have to say no — no guns, no bikes, and…
It’s time for Waynesville to get going on its land use plan review, especially since the economic downturn has slowed development and provided a window of time where big projects just aren’t coming along. Waynesville’s land use plan is about…
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 15:23

Public land stewardship as economic stimulus

Editor’s Note: The following is testimony delivered by Mark Singleton of Sylva, who is the chairman of the Outdoor Alliance. Singleton is the executive director of the Sylva-based American Whitewater, a paddling advocacy organization. The Outdoor Alliance is made up…
Wednesday, 24 December 2008 15:48

DOT meeting should have been advertised

By James McCarthy • Guest Columnist Did the N.C. Department of Transportation hold an illegal meeting on Dec. 4 at Western Carolina University when it failed to give proper notification or invite the public? Actually there were two meetings held…
Wednesday, 24 December 2008 15:50

Sustainable travel makes sense

By Cynthia Deale • Western Regional Representative, Center for Sustainable Tourism Editor’s note: This series of green living tips is provided by Sustainable Mountain Initiative, a Jackson County coalition of government officials and concerned citizens working together to lead the…
Wednesday, 24 December 2008 15:53

That’s me on the couch, counting my blessings

The holidays are upon us, I’m walking almost normal, and I’m ready to sit on the couch and count my blessings. First off, I’m thinking how lucky I am. No pain meds, no crutches, no cane, just a big scar…
By David Curtis Just a short two weeks ago I was texting my daughter, who was in the process of finishing up her first semester at N.C. State, asking her when her finals would be over, about her arrangements for…
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 16:21

Bad economy leads to a few good things

By John Beckman • Guest Columnist A lot of attention lately has been focused on how bad the economic downturn has been for the U.S. and its world partners but as everyone knows; there are two sides to every story.…
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 16:23

It’s all about the kids, right?

We stood looking at the dinosaur for quite awhile. As parents of children ages 7 and 3, we are more than a little familiar with dinosaurs. In fact, our home has become somewhat of a haven for dinosaurs, an impressive…
The acknowledgement by Waynesville’s leaders that they let a review of the town’s much-heralded land use plan languish and now intend to jumpstart the process is welcome news. “It’s back on track,” said Mayor Gavin Brown of the review process.…
Wednesday, 20 July 2011 13:19

HART production just as good as Broadway

To the Editor: Have you ever wanted to go to Manhattan and see a Broadway musical? Well, you don’t have to travel that far, Broadway has come to us! Just when you thought the HART Theater couldn’t get any better,…
Wednesday, 20 July 2011 13:18

General Assembly was fair with education

To the Editor: When funds are limited and cuts need to be made, wise decisions are imperative. As a former educator with 25 years of experience, I commend the N.C. General Assembly for making judicious decisions for the students of…
Wednesday, 20 July 2011 13:17

SCC worked for years to fund road

The basic issue is safety. That’s it, plain and simple. While one Jackson County commissioner has questioned the need for R-5000, a new access road for Southwestern Community College’s Jackson Campus, the board of trustees and I contend that not…
Wednesday, 20 July 2011 13:13

Sometimes a little wildness is a good thing

Out running early this morning, I was struck by the colors of summer found in the fields along Fairview Road in Sylva. Purple clover, the unique blue of chicory, Queen Anne’s lace providing intermittent touches of white — the fields…
Wednesday, 20 July 2011 13:12

Duke rate hike request all about profits

If you read the information Duke Energy is spreading throughout the news media in its vast public relations campaign, you’d be led to believe the request for a 15 percent rate increase (17 percent for residential ratepayers) is a result…
I’ve been volunteering with the Folkmoot USA International Dance Festival for about 15 years. It’s one of the most culturally rich, unique events in these mountains. It was going on before the Iron Curtain was raised, bringing dancers from those…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 13:05

Living the good life includes the arts

Art is aesthetic; crafts are practical. That’s the difference between the two, at least in theory. The distinction between arts and crafts becomes blurred, however, when you attend an event as tremendous as the annual Craft Fair of the Southern…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 13:04

Put blame for budget woes where it belongs

To the Editor: The ad from Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS organization, funded by anonymous sources, about “no more blank checks” for Obama, epitomizes what is wrong with politics in our country. It plays to our fears, uses two lies and counts…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 13:03

New state abortion law slaps of irony

To the editor: I have just received a notice from Sen. Jim Davis that the N.C. Senate passed a bill requiring women who are considering an abortion to have an ultrasound.   I would be more impressed if the Republicans…
To the editor: I urge conservation-minded residents of Western North Carolina and all those hikers, birders, campers, anglers, hunters, nature photographers, picnickers and local people who prefer the true solitude of a magnificent, wild national resource to again take pen to…
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 12:59

Wake up America, the world is watching

From the hotel window in Durban, South Africa, I can see the Indian Ocean. Freighters line the horizon like parapets on a castle wall, waiting their turn to berth at the busiest container port in the entire continent of Africa.…
Wednesday, 27 July 2011 14:06

A few notes on habits and change

In her teachings, Buddhist nun Pema Chodron often relates a story about a great spiritual teacher, Atisha, who planned a trip from India to Tibet. Atisha was told the people of Tibet were good-natured, pleasant and wonderful to be with.…
Wednesday, 27 July 2011 14:05

A chink in the good ol’ boys’ armor

I remember both my grandfathers very well.  Both served in the military during WWI, and their grandfathers fought in the American Civil War. With that perspective, one can readily comprehend how quickly time moves along. Nowadays, at age 59, I…
Wednesday, 27 July 2011 14:04

Liberals will take this country down

To The Editor: Before Shirley Ches graced us with her commentary on the state of the universe in her recent letter to a local paper, most of us didn’t know we had a spokesperson for USA Earthlings right here in…
Wednesday, 27 July 2011 14:03

Is Duke a for-profit business or a utility?

To the Editor: Bob Scott, alderman, town of Franklin, wrote a pointed letter to the editor titled, “Rate increase should be met with salary cuts.” Scott has done solid research in to the hefty salaries of Duke energy’s top executives.…
EDISTO, S.C. — If you’re going to roast in a record-breaking heat wave anyway, you might as well do it at the beach. Here, at least, we have the ocean breezes, a swimming pool at the resort, merciful air conditioning…
Wednesday, 10 August 2011 13:25

Restoring earth before the end of the world

I have some good news. But first the bad news. The world is ending. Evangelist Harold Camping has predicted it. Others point to the Mayan calendar and confirm that our remaining days are few. Meanwhile, a surprising number of people…
Turkeys, I’ve learned, are curious animals. That curiosity was on full display for company this past weekend when Kirk Hardin the goat broker and his wife, Shannon, came over from Canton to pick up three sheep and a billy goat.…
Wednesday, 10 August 2011 13:17

Free Press in Cherokee? Not now anyway

To the editor: In this recent atmosphere of mudslinging, it’s all too easy to lose focus on what’s important. What should matter more than anything to tribal members is the ability to hold their elected representatives on Tribal Council and…
Wednesday, 10 August 2011 13:17

New state abortion rules seek to coerce women

To the editor: I am writing to thank NC Representative Phil Haire for his courage and integrity in voting against House Bill 854, both in the initial vote and in the override of Gov. Purdue’s veto on it. Since women…
Wednesday, 10 August 2011 13:16

Life seems so good that nostalgia sets in

“It’s like floating on a cloud,” that’s what the man in the booth said about his nifty adjustable hammocks. We took turns trying one out, first my wife — the most frugal among us and therefore the hardest sell —…
If I overdose and you have to take me to the emergency room, I told a friend Friday night, please tell the doctor I took three ibuprofen, two Benadryl and a Hydrocodone. Then, mercifully, I passed out. And, awoke to…
What if we treated all athletes like skateboarders? I ask this question because I am a skateboarder. I grew up playing almost every sport (football, soccer, baseball, basketball, judo, etc.), and I witnessed firsthand how much support these sports receive…
Wednesday, 17 August 2011 13:28

SCC does not need this kind of road

To the Editor: After reading a recent article in The Sylva Herald, I feel it is time to further explain my position on R-5000. My questions have never been about whether Southwestern Community College needs another campus entrance/exit; rather, does…
To the Editor: For the last two weeks I have been hearing about artifacts donated to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park by Swain County citizens being moved to Tennessee to a new proposed curatorial collections facility being built there.…
Wednesday, 17 August 2011 13:25

Leading by example creates lasting legacies

Many people who lead exceptional lives never break an arm trying to pat themselves on their own back. They just do good things, usually for others and most of the time just because they know it’s the right thing to…
A number of readers have informed me that the agonizing sting I described in last week’s column was the work of a Japanese hornet. That sent me trotting to my computer, where I read a description of being stung by…
Wednesday, 24 August 2011 12:16

Lake issue raises complex questions

To the Editor: Thank you for the thoughtful, informative and balanced article on Lake Emory in Franklin. I would like to put my comments in more context. I do this knowing full well that the worst response a biologist can…
Wednesday, 24 August 2011 12:15

Park proposals add insult to injury

I recently wrote in the Swain County newspaper about a singularly misguided proposal by Great Smoky Mountains National Park leadership to transfer their archives and artifacts to Townsend, Tenn. A Swain County site makes more sense, and full marks to…
There is nothing that smells quite as bad as a male goat in rut. During the mating season, excited billy goats urinate on their own beards and front legs. An amazing feat, really, if one ignores the ickiness of it…
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 12:43

Beware of cardboard coyotes

I consider it a good thing when you meet someone new from a very different background that provides a chance to pause, and to see your own world in a different light. That view from another vantage point helps to…
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 12:43

Eichenbaum’s flip-flops can’t be ignored

To the Editor: In response to Dr. Dan Eichenbaum’s announcement that he is running for Congress again in the 11th Congressional District, it is my duty to inform the voters of a few facts that make him unelectable. First, every…
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 12:42

Democratic Party opposes rate increase

To the Editor: At the July meeting of the Jackson County Democratic Party Executive Committee, the executive committee voted to officially oppose the proposal of Duke Energy of the Carolinas to seek a rate increase for its electricity consumers in…
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 12:41

Insurance mandate is not unconstitutional

To the editor: If mandatory health insurance is unconstitutional, as the Republicans hope the Supreme Court will rule, what about Social Security and Medicare? They’re compulsory also. The health plan is different only in allowing some consumer choice. You’d think…
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 12:40

State GOP leaders following a script

To the Editor: I found it curious that the slew of bills rushed through the first session of our new Republican-controlled North Carolina legislature were reported in the national news as being introduced in other Republican-controlled state legislatures as well.…
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 12:39

The wheels of justice got stuck in the mud

I’ve loved rock and roll music all of my life. When I was a teenager, I listened to Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles and Bob Seger and other staples of FM radio that most parents were listening to as well,…
I was pleased to see quite a few people selling meat this past Saturday at the local farmers market in Sylva. That’s a noticeable change from just a year or so ago, when naturally grown meats were hard to come…
Wednesday, 07 September 2011 13:30

Protecting public lands protects quality of life

To the Editor: Last week, North Carolinians joined citizens from all over the nation to celebrate Great Outdoors Week to focus on public lands and their importance to the state’s economy. Getting people outdoors is a growing business in North…
Wednesday, 07 September 2011 13:29

Third-party certification can help forest owners

To the Editor: The best way to keep private forestlands in forests is to have an economic environment that makes the timber on these lands valuable enough to encourage landowners to continue to manage their forests and receive a decent…
Wednesday, 07 September 2011 13:29

Social Security has been robbed by politicians

To the Editor: For more than 25 years after the 1983 amendments to Social Security, the federal government collected more in Social Security payroll taxes each year than it paid out in benefits. Those surplus revenues were supposed to be…
Wednesday, 07 September 2011 13:27

Time to reduce our dependence on oil

To the Editor: We traveled to Clayton, Ga., last week to attend a presentation featuring “The Transition Movement.” This movement started in Ireland, spread to the U.K. and is now being discussed in the U.S.   Transition towns are those…
Wednesday, 07 September 2011 13:26

Hell hath no Fury like a guilty conscience

One night last week, when I was watching what must have been the 500th recounting of the Casey Anthony trial, I suddenly recalled my favorite subject to teach in college — Greek mythology. At first, I wasn’t certain about the…
Been to the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino? Even if you don’t gamble, I’d encourage a walk through. My bet is you’d be absolutely astounded at what is happening in Cherokee. I took a media tour a couple of weeks ago and,…
Wednesday, 14 September 2011 13:15

Haywood closes in on deal to privatize landfill

Haywood County is inching closer to exiting the landfill business, with plans to hand over the county’s White Oak landfill operations to a private company who will sell space to out-of-county haulers. County commissioners will vote next month whether to…
Wednesday, 14 September 2011 13:00

Farmers are almost always willing to lend a hand

Tammara Talley, while gracious in her acknowledgments during the shower of verbal high-fives raining down upon her at Saturday’s farmers market, couldn’t help but beam proudly. No different, really, than any mother just delivered of perfect babies bearing precisely the…
Wednesday, 14 September 2011 12:59

Riding the Parkway for a cause

Seconds after I heard the doorbell, my little feet hit the stone floor landing that served to separate the front door from the living room. The cold temperature of the floor on my feet meant it was colder outside. Thanksgiving…
Wednesday, 14 September 2011 12:58

Tea Party wants to restore America

To the Editor: In a Quinnipiac University polling (8/16-8/27), 29 percent of Americans responded that they couldn’t formulate an opinion of the Tea Party because they hadn’t heard enough about it. Following are the core beliefs of the Tea Party.…
Wednesday, 14 September 2011 12:58

Let’s send Obama to unemployment line

To the Editor: We need a plan that will help grow jobs in our district. The message to the world and the nation is simple: Western North Carolina is open for your business. We need to ease the rules that…
Wednesday, 14 September 2011 12:57

Kudos to Haywood for landslide mapping

To the Editor: It’s good to see Haywood County leaders talking sense about landslide hazard mapping instead of stoking the fires of misinformation and conspiracy that exist in other parts of the region. The county commissioners are to be commended…
Wednesday, 14 September 2011 12:57

Harrah’s should not have a monopoly

To the Editor: Regarding the editor’s article, “It’s time to approve dealers at Harrah’s casino” (SMN, Sept. 7-13), I agree the time is now for the North Carolina to approve live dealers. This could be a win-win situation for both…
Wednesday, 14 September 2011 12:55

More media is almost always beneficial

I don’t listen to local radio so much anymore, but the story in last week’s edition about the demise of WRGC in Sylva still struck and emotional chord somewhere inside. When I say I don’t listen to local radio regularly,…
Wednesday, 21 September 2011 15:46

Horn removal task best done early and well

I have learned, yet again, the virtues of doing something right the first time. My sloppiness was a bloody and painful lesson for two young goats this past weekend. It was an experience I could have spared them — and…
Wednesday, 21 September 2011 13:51

CuRvE wants to build on WCU’s strengths

The article about the Western Carolina University Strategic Planning Commission caught the attention of the Cullowhee Revitalization Endeavor (CuRvE), a community organization whose mission is to “facilitate the beautification and revitalization of the downtown Cullowhee area extending along Old Cullowhee…
Wednesday, 21 September 2011 13:51

Attacks on Tea Party inaccurate

To the Editor: The gangland-style, fist pounding threat to “take out the sons of b_____s shouted by union leader Jimmy Hoffa Jr.  is just the latest in a string of name-calling aimed at the Tea Party by Democrat leaders. Mind…
Wednesday, 21 September 2011 13:50

Do we really want leaders like this?

To the Editor: At the Republican presidential debate on Sept. 12, the moderator posed a hypothetical question to Representative Ron Paul. “What do you tell a guy who is sick, goes into a coma and doesn’t have health insurance? Who…
Wednesday, 21 September 2011 13:49

Bothwell supports health care for all

To the Editor: Last March, I realized everyone’s worst nightmare when a doctor diagnosed my 44-year-old husband, Ben, with a rectal tumor. Ben had no risk factors. We were stunned and heartbroken. Within two weeks of treatment, we had met…
Wednesday, 21 September 2011 13:49

New Franklin Wal-Mart is a blight on landscape

To the Editor: Last week I had the great misfortune of seeing first-hand the results of wanton destruction of acres of formerly pristine Macon County woodlands all in the name of the Super Wal-Mart now under construction.  If this is…
Wednesday, 21 September 2011 13:48

Is our region a threat or an opportunity?

To the Editor: It was exciting last week to read of Western Carolina University’s move to re-open its strategic planning process under its new chancellor. The university and the region certainly have an opportunity here. Beginning with an assessment of strengths, weaknesses,…
Wednesday, 21 September 2011 13:48

Rep. Haire votes against same-sex ban

To the Editor: Recently my office received more than 125 written requests from Haywood, Jackson and Swain counties requesting that I oppose SB 514, the Defense of Marriage Bill. Because of this large number, it would not be feasible to reply…
Wednesday, 21 September 2011 13:46

WCU’s future important for entire region

Once you hit the Haywood County line after heading west on Interstate 40 out of Asheville, Western Carolina University is the acknowledged cultural focal point for all the remaining seven counties in this southwestern corner of our great state. We…
Wednesday, 28 September 2011 12:55

Slope rules could help protect Macon

To the Editor: Wildflower is back, and a lot of people are worried, especially here in the northern part of Macon County. From the time the first developer spoke to a crowd of over 200 at Cowee School and said,…
Wednesday, 28 September 2011 12:54

Lower corporate taxes won’t create jobs

To the Editor: In the ongoing debate about job creation, much misinformation is being bandied about in an effort to confuse us and advance a conservative agenda. Some try to convince us that economic growth will generate jobs. But the…
Wednesday, 28 September 2011 12:53

Legislators need some time in the desert

To the Editor: After recently returning to North Carolina from three years in the Southwest, I am saddened to learn that our state legislature is so focused on creating a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage — yet another piece…
Wednesday, 28 September 2011 12:53

Macon County needs to use landslide maps

To the Editor: The North Carolina Geological Survey landslide hazard map prepared for Macon County is a valuable resource for our county planners, citizens and  property owners. The considerable cost developing this resource has been borne by the taxpayers of…
Wednesday, 28 September 2011 12:51

We don’t need Rep. Phil Haire in office

To the Editor, Rep. Phil Haire’s recnt letter contains the pathetic non sequitur: “to place (the Defense of Marriage Bill) on the ballot in the form of a constitutional amendment is a gross waste of your time and state funds.…
Wednesday, 28 September 2011 12:49

Winter garden success come those who labor

I cut my first fall salad this weekend: baby kale, tatsoi, mizuna, baby mustards and more. Following a summer of garden failure, this fall garden has restored my good humor and gardening confidence. As weedy as my summer garden proved,…
Wednesday, 28 September 2011 12:47

A witness to the Cherokee renaissance

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has a resilient, independent spirit. When the U.S. government forced the majority of the tribe to head west to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears, those who remained were the defiant ones, and it…
Wednesday, 05 October 2011 20:34

In my dreams, I am organized and efficient

I am a great admirer of efficient people. In my enthusiasm for them I sometimes mistake myself for one of those types. I wrongly imagine I’m a getting-it-done kind of person who never goes upstairs or downstairs with empty hands;…
To the Editor: While the good folks at Frontier (Everett, Wash., customer service call center) offered as a good faith gesture to lower my monthly landline phone charge by $11, my original request for an update on DSL service was…
Wednesday, 05 October 2011 20:33

Rep. Phil Haire wrong on gay marriage bill

To the Editor: I found Rep. Phil Haire’s recent letter outlining and justifying his opposition to SB 514, the Defense of Marriage Bill, very alarming. Rep. Haire was 100 percent wrong when he said that to put the issue of…
Wednesday, 05 October 2011 20:33

Haire should support the people’s vote

To the Editor: I’d like to address the letter three weeks ago by my representative to the General Assembly, The Honorable Phil Haire. Short and to the point, I have two issues. First, it is very telling that our elected…
Wednesday, 05 October 2011 20:32

Go ahead and do the Macon revaluation

To the Editor: If property revaluation is postponed until 2015, the Macon County Commissioners are again gambling that property values will be comparable to the current valuations in order to maintain the current budget level. Consider that they could be…
Wednesday, 05 October 2011 20:32

Some questions for progressives to answer

To the Editor: These questions are directed to progressives, liberals or left-thinking people. • Why do you think it’s OK for the government to hold a gun to my head and take my money to give to more deserving or…
Wednesday, 05 October 2011 20:30

It is time to move beyond gay marriage debate

When will we say, “It is enough”? On Sept. 19, a 14-year-old boy named Jamey Rodemeyer from Buffalo, N.Y., committed suicide after suffering from being bullied by classmates who harassed him with gay slurs both at his school and online.…
A box of bulbs arrived Saturday, containing within the cardboard confines all the promises of fall work, winter waiting and spring wonder. The decision was made last March or April to order then rather than waiting to select and purchase…
Wednesday, 12 October 2011 14:05

Student housing would benefit Forest Hills

To the Editor: In response to the article written by Quintin Ellison published Oct. 5 regarding the developer request to the mayor and council of Forest Hills village to allow a premier student housing complex, I offer the following viewpoint and…
Wednesday, 12 October 2011 14:05

Cutting food aid right now is deplorable

To the Editor: An elderly widow on a fixed-income already cannot afford a healthy diet and her medications, and now she wonders how she will afford to heat her home this winter. She relies on the food assistance The Community…
Wednesday, 12 October 2011 14:03

Waynesville town board needs Mary Ann Enloe

To the Editor: One of America’s greatest statesmen, Thomas Paine, wrote a book called Common Sense. Unfortunately, this trait is not too prevalent in our government nowadays. However, Mary Ann Enloe, a candidate for Waynesville alderman, possesses it in great…