WNC Travel Guide

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 in this region and those across the country, work hard to make these people who want your votes stake out their positions on the important issues. And we’ll try to provide some perspective and background, to put the issue into some kind of context. Most of us view it as a challenge each election season to prove newspapers provide better, more in-depth coverage of candidates that television and even the Internet.

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 infiltration of Islam inside the United States, and what effect it might have on our nation.

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 on our list of reasons to go on living were hit where it hurts. If Sheriff Andy Taylor is the backbone of the show, Deputy Barney Fife is its flesh. Except for those infrequent occasions when he underestimates either women or his son, Opie — a weakness which is always revealed and corrected by the end of the show — Andy is almost too saintly for us to relate to very much. He’s the fellow we aspire to be, a kind, generous, strong man who faces life with integrity, dignity, courage, and humor. And he can play the guitar and sing, too.

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 and honest discourse about our differences — whether based on culture, religion, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation — give way to the worst humanity has to offer: ignorance, fear and hatred.

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 marinaras. I can do Southern meals with fried chicken and mashed potatoes and gravy and lots of garden vegetables. I cooked for a local inn and heard guests say that the main reason they returned was the food. I don’t consider myself a gourmet by any means, but I do figure that I have learned some things about food and making it taste good.

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 tiny yard, and I already had one dog, a skittish collie named Russ, who was skeptical of anything new, especially other dogs. I barely had room for Russ, and barely got the bills paid each month. The very last thing I needed or wanted was another dog.

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 the Jackson County commissioners used an illegal closed session in January 2005 to discuss the future of Tom McClure. McClure was the director of Jackson County’s Economic Development Commission and head of the airport authority.

“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 about changes to Unto These Hills.


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 take over the editor’s job at a small-town daily.

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 19 in my hand.

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