The type of traditional manufacturing that put many small towns on the map and provided a decent living to generations of Americans is long gone; it’s been in decline sine the 1970s and will never fully disappear, but the massive economic benefits of large-scale industrial production for the most part have. 

Franklin Town Council seemed poised to approve a new zoning designation — the River Overlay District — until a packed room of business owners presented the board with a list of concerns Monday night during a public hearing. 

To the Editor:

In his guest column in the Jan. 17 edition, Martin Dyckman proposes to “eliminate the power of the Electoral College.” I submit that his proposal about how to do that virtually eliminates the need for it altogether and might as well be seen as the last stage in the ongoing reduction of the states from sovereign entities in a sovereign union to dependent provinces of an all-powerful federal leviathan.

Mr. Dyckman proposes that each state should enter a compact to cast all that state’s electoral votes for the winner of the nationwide popular vote, no matter who wins the state’s popular vote. This would result in further conversion of this country’s political system into a virtual direct democracy, which means that it would be only a matter of time before it became a tyranny, possibly after passage through a period of rank anarchy and civil strife.

This is not to say that the Electoral College system could not stand some serious reformation: Even when one clears away the vestiges of TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) that called forth this particular column, there is a need for such reform, so long as it preserves the republican nature of the American Constitutional order.

Accordingly, I would propose that states enter into a compact to cast their electoral votes according to which candidate receives the most votes in each Congressional District, with the two that correspond with the Senate seats being given to the statewide winner. In 2016, that would probably have meant that Mrs. Clinton would have garnered one or two of North Carolina’s 15 votes instead of the zero with which she finished.

This is a system that at least two states — Maine and Nebraska — already use and which another — Virginia — has been considering in a modified form. Like Mr. Dyckman’s proposal, it requires no federal amendment. All that is necessary is the willingness of the state legislatures to enact it.

Such a plan would accomplish one of the objectives that Mr. Dyckman says he wants much more efficiently than his own proposal, in that it would impel candidates for the presidency to allocate their campaign resources more generally than they do at present.

Certainly, the ideal would be to incorporate the Congressional District method into the federal Constitution, but I suspect that Mr. Dyckman is correct in his assessment that such an effort, at least for the moment, is futile. It will be difficult enough in this state, given the bipartisan willingness to rise above principle when political power is at stake. However, it is worth a try, and I strongly encourage our Reps. Mike Clampitt, R-Bryson City, Rep. Keith Corbin, R-Franklin, and Rep. Michelle Presnell, R-Burnsville, and Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, to submit and support a bill to make it happen.

Samuel Edwards


Republicans in the House and Senate supported a tax bill that was opposed by the majority of Americans. They insisted on passing a flawed, hastily-tacked-together bill with no discussion beyond the Republican caucus in both houses. Why?

Those few of us who will see our federal taxes go down should know that we’re benefitting because the Republicans in the House and Senate have no problem with killing and taking food from the mouths of impoverished children, sick children of the working poor and struggling middle class, and adults with intellectual or physical disabilities. Republicans have admitted that they will sooner or later choose to cut Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security to repay big donors and buy upper-middle and upper class votes. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office told us that 13 million people will lose their present health insurance. What many Americans worry about most is prescription medicine costs, yet the White House has already said they can’t keep their promise to bring your medicine bills down.

Are the majority of Americans actually going to benefit from the tax bill? First, let’s define which North Carolina voters we’re talking about because what’s middle class in every state differs in housing and food costs, local and state taxes, and so on.

According to the US Census Bureau, in North Carolina you’re middle class if you make between $33,890 to $101,170 a year. Every non-partisan expert group (for example, Pew Research/Business Insider and Kaiser Family Foundation) said that the lower middle class ($33,800 to about $56,227 per year household income) won’t see much difference. Half of North Carolinians make less than $50,584 a year. In other words, most Trump supporters will get a few crumbs of crow pie for their loyalty.

The Tax Policy Center explained that only the richest families, the top 1 to nearly 5 percent in the U.S. will see much change. Worse still, by 2027 53 percent of Americans will be paying more tax under the new tax bill. So for over half of Americans, the new Republican tax law is going to make you poorer in the long run.

If you are in that lower middle to mid-range in household income — $33,800 to about $68,795 — your tax savings will likely be wiped out by other costs rising, especially higher medical costs, including insurance. Experts predict that health insurance under the Trump administration policies will increase by at least 10 percent. To make matters worse for the middle class, you’ll gradually lose your standard deductions.

So why on earth did Republicans and Trump do this to most of the people who voted them into office? Because the tiny, rich minority of their supporters who gave them huge donations didn’t mind robbing the middle class to make themselves richer. Apparently they believe that their puppets in Congress really can fool all of the people all of the time. Only time will tell whether enough middle class voters are that gullible.

Mary Jane Curry

Haywood County

It was déjà vu all over again in Maggie Valley, where the Board of Aldermen once again passed the controversial Brunch Bill ordinance by a vote of 3-2, just like it was on Dec. 11.

Downtown Sylva looks quite a bit different these days than this time last year.

Cherokee inched closer to holding a referendum vote asking how widely available alcohol should be on tribal land with a vote during December’s Tribal Council meeting, but exactly what the implications of such a referendum might be is still unclear.

Asheville is red hot in more ways than I can list here. Pick up a travel magazine, visit an outdoor adventure website, listen to interviews with famous musicians or screen stars, or read articles discussing best places to visit, retire, live, eat or open a business and Asheville is among the places brought up.

I know that’s not breaking news, but the fact that we all know it’s the truth is why I think it was a smart idea for Haywood County to partner with the Asheville Chamber of Commerce for economic development marketing.

The Lake Junaluska Assembly prides itself on being a place of transformation and renewal for all people, but over the next year, the hallowed local institution will itself undergo transformation and renewal as it searches for a new leader.

New Sylva brewery opens

With its grand opening last Friday, Balsam Falls Brewing Company becomes the third business of its kind in Sylva.

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