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Wednesday, 09 May 2012 12:41

Tell legislators to keep a good thing going

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The specialty license plates that have provided millions of dollars for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway — and plenty of other needy organizations in this state — may disappear if legislative leaders don’t take action to repeal a measure approved in its last session.

The measure to do away with the full-color plates was originally passed in the last General Assembly session due to safety concerns that law enforcement officials could not read the numbers. However, a highway safety committee has now recommended modifications that will allow the plates to keep their “look.” The state Highway Patrol agrees.

We at The Smoky Mountain News are partial to the Friends of the Smokies plate. Not only have we long supported the work of the Friends and the importance of the park to this region, our Art Director Micah McClure worked long hours with former Friends of the Smokies Executive Director George Ivey to design the plate. We think it’s a beauty, and it works.

The point is that supporters of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park need to contact lawmakers and let them know these plates and the revenue they bring in are important. Supposedly the repeal is in the bag, but anyone who follows politics knows that things can change fast.

•••

This is a short story of two bands. It’s also a way of trying to make up. Corrections in our newspaper get Page 2 billing, but this one warrants a little more detail.

So it was in our April 25 edition on page 24, in the schedule of events for the Greening Up the Mountains festival in Sylva: “3-4 p.m.: Noonday Sun, a Seattle-based Christian pop/rock band.” They were to be the featured band at one of the festival’s stages.

And Noonday Sun is indeed a Seattle-based Christian pop/rock band. Google it and you can see for yourself. But that’s not the band that played at Greening Up the Mountains. That band is the Jackson County-based Noonday Sun, which describes itself on their Facebook page as purveyors of “Aggressive instrumental fusion.”

Let’s see, Christian pop/rock band or aggressive instrumental fusion band. Couldn’t be more different. Kind of like a serious newspaper being mistaken for a shopper.

We pride ourselves in knowing our communities. That means being knowledgeable on who is the county board chairman and what band is playing where. Both very important depending on who’s reading.

To top it off, Chris Cooper, one of the guitarists for Noonday Sun, wrote music reviews for this newspaper for a few years. So, our apologies. I didn’t even know it had happened until running into Adam Bigelow at City Lights, and he couldn’t resist a little ribbing.

More importantly, I keep hearing about the growing Sylva music scene. That’s good for all musicians in Jackson County. And I don’t think many of them play Christian pop/rock. Thank God.

•••

Sometimes the written word is powerful. A beautiful description, a humorous phrase, a concise metaphor or a moving line of poetry can inspire. Martin Dyckman’s letter in this edition (see below) ripping Mitt Romney’s judgment is memorable not for the partisan tone but for its last line. Dyckman has written several books and is a former journalist in Florida. He is talking about Romney, but the line could describe any leader who has done something that proves he has become too enamored of power: “… is to give cause for wonder as to whether any part of the candidate’s soul remains unsacrificed to his ambition.”

•••

The upcoming issue of Smoky Mountain Living magazine (www.smliv.com) is dedicated to mountain women. It hits newsstands and mailboxes the first week of June, but we’ve just wrapped up the writing, editing and design of the summer issue, and it’s worth a read. I’d recommend picking one up or going all in and getting a subscription.

I won’t give away any content, but I will offer up one line describing a mountain woman that came from one of our readers. It’s rich: “You can tell she’s a level-headed woman because she has snuff running out of both sides of her mouth.”

(Scott McLeod can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

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