So this is who we are, and I didn’t see it

Amidst a raucous crowd of nearly 600 runners — and probably just as many spectators — a couple of Saturday…
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New tuition plan holds great promise for NC
 

New tuition plan holds great promise for NC

Tuition just got significantly cheaper at Western Carolina University, and as long as the legislature keeps its promises to fill…
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Battling the twin evils of gerrymandering and money
 

Battling the twin evils of gerrymandering and money

By Martin Dyckman • Guest Columnist Most of Europe’s aristocracy didn’t think the infant United States would last a decade, and…
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In praise of passionate, civic-minded teachers
 

In praise of passionate, civic-minded teachers

As they say, the devil is in the details, and in this case the details are simply ridiculous. A bill…
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Even today, our republic is on shaky ground
 

Even today, our republic is on shaky ground

 “What really shaped me was doing all of those community programs and talks, where you could really make a connection…
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Trying to make sense of Orlando
 

Trying to make sense of Orlando

I don’t know what to tell my children, so I don’t tell them anything. Not yet anyway. It is the…
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If this were the wild, he would already be gone
 

If this were the wild, he would already be gone

When next week’s edition of The Smoky Mountain News hits the streets Wednesday, June 15, my youngest will be a…
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Still free to mix it up in the marketplace of ideas
 

Still free to mix it up in the marketplace of ideas

Over this past Memorial Day weekend I found myself reading essays and columns about freedom, about military men and women…
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Trying times for school leaders in Haywood
 

Trying times for school leaders in Haywood

Haywood County Schools has been a part of my life for 24 years now — as a journalist, the husband…
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Are we near the ‘who cares’ point for legal pot?
 

Are we near the ‘who cares’ point for legal pot?

The last couple of years have brought a sea change in attitudes about marijuana. I’m convinced pot will be legal…
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The Left still has something to learn about tolerance
 

The Left still has something to learn about tolerance

I’ve been observing something for years — though recently it has snowballed  — and it has always struck me as…
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WCU students learning valuable lessons on civil discourse
 

WCU students learning valuable lessons on civil discourse

It’s not the 1960s in terms of political activism, but recent episodes at Western Carolina University and across the country…
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Rep. Queen critical of GOP’s leadership, methods
 

Rep. Queen critical of GOP’s leadership, methods

“I feel like a one-legged man at an ass kicking. They don’t care for me because I call them out.…
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New charters stir emotions, but time is a healer
 

New charters stir emotions, but time is a healer

When we reported that Mountain Discovery Charter School and Swain County commissioners were working together to hopefully build a gymnasium,…
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Help build a community that fights child abuse
 

Help build a community that fights child abuse

By Julie Schroer • Guest Columnist As April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, I want you to hang in…
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Community involvement is the key
 

Community involvement is the key

To the Editor: I won’t be voting for Michele Presnell, but it seems silly for this newspaper and local elected…
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The arts thrive only if we support them
 

The arts thrive only if we support them

“The arts are so incredibly vital to a quality of life, smart business and the health of a community. The…
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Let’s get the ‘dump Presnell’ train rolling
 

Let’s get the ‘dump Presnell’ train rolling

Let the campaign to unseat Rep. Michele Presnell begin. During her two terms in office Presnell has been an obstructionist…
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Maggie Valley should make town center happen
 

Maggie Valley should make town center happen

When small towns think and act big, amazing things can happen. Anyone who has traveled has come across communities that…
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Trump is leading somewhere I just won’t go
 

Trump is leading somewhere I just won’t go

With the North Carolina primary election just days away on March 15, Donald Trump continues his march toward the Republican…
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Fortunately, the ‘ups’ outweigh the ‘downs’
 

Fortunately, the ‘ups’ outweigh the ‘downs’

Sometimes I forget why I love it so much. The truth is that newspaper work is partly satisfying, partly frustrating.…
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Apple or Uncle Sam? I don’t like my choices
 

Apple or Uncle Sam? I don’t like my choices

Who you going to trust, Apple or Uncle Sam? By deciding not to obey a court order to unlock the…
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No reason to believe N.C. will fix redistricting mess
 

No reason to believe N.C. will fix redistricting mess

Maybe North Carolina will be a shining star of a state working to resolve petty partisanship, and maybe it won’t. …
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Bottom line: State needs to do more for public schools
 

Bottom line: State needs to do more for public schools

It’s a fundamental question and voters will be the ultimate arbiters: is North Carolina spending adequately on education? The short…
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Let’s ease off the throttle on Central closing
 

Let’s ease off the throttle on Central closing

By John Sanderson • Guest Columnist I have hesitated to make a comment about this issue, because I know personally…
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Voters will ultimately decide if firing was a mistake
 

Voters will ultimately decide if firing was a mistake

Former county commissioner, mayor and longtime Haywood County political player/observer Mary Ann Enloe was dead on in her column last…
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It’s a great plan, just work on the free throws
 

It’s a great plan, just work on the free throws

I was in my early twenties before I knew what I wanted to do with my life. My son, Jack,…
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And the 2015 award winners are ...
 

And the 2015 award winners are ...

The idea to start handing out annual spoof awards instead of the traditional year-in-review that most newspapers do was the…
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Haywood just not prepared for growth
 

Haywood just not prepared for growth

If there was ever a time in recent memory when Haywood County leaders and its citizens need reminding that they…
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I swear, it’s really much ado about nothing
 

I swear, it’s really much ado about nothing

Sometimes in the world of journalism, the story becomes more about the reaction than the original news event. By my…
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It’s really OK to just let kids be kids
 

It’s really OK to just let kids be kids

“OK, everybody, huddle up, huddle up!” But nobody really seems to want to huddle up. Our point guard is standing…
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Let’s play pretend politician: what issues would you own?
 

Let’s play pretend politician: what issues would you own?

I’m not running for office and never will, but as a citizen of Haywood County and Western North Carolina and…
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Investing in what’s best about WNC
 

Investing in what’s best about WNC

While I was living in Elizabethtown in southeastern North Carolina in 1988, Walmart opened a brand-new store. Most everyone was…
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A banquet table of issues, one bite at a time
 

A banquet table of issues, one bite at a time

So much going on locally and around the world that it’s just a tough week to bear down on a…
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If it’s good vs. evil, only one outcome is tenable
 

If it’s good vs. evil, only one outcome is tenable

When terrorism strikes like it did this weekend in Paris, the first reaction to the horror is shock from the…
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In the end, Haywood leaders make the right call
 

In the end, Haywood leaders make the right call

Hindsight is indeed 20-20, and this time Haywood County commissioners very likely saw things exactly as they should have. The…
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Pisgah High Millennials ready to voice their opinions
 

Pisgah High Millennials ready to voice their opinions

Somewhere at this very moment, a political science major is writing a dissertation on why young people these days are…
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Steep slope protections a very real economic incentive
 

Steep slope protections a very real economic incentive

Jackson County commissioners are going to pass a smart steep slope ordinance that will help as this region shakes off…
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Waynesville needs Mayor Gavin Brown back in office
 

Waynesville needs Mayor Gavin Brown back in office

I sincerely hope Waynesville citizens support Mayor Gavin Brown for reelection. Municipal elections carry more import than most people realize.…
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In search of the uplifting and the ephemeral
 

In search of the uplifting and the ephemeral

“At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless; Neither from nor towards; at the still point,…
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America’s ‘culture of me’ has got to change
 

America’s ‘culture of me’ has got to change

If we are ever going to have any hope of stemming the bloody tide of mass shootings — which happens…
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Legislature pushes state into a freefall to the right
 

Legislature pushes state into a freefall to the right

Just a few more dollars, that’s all. When you get your car fixed or a new dishwasher installed, now you’ll…
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Valuing the process more than the outcome
 

Valuing the process more than the outcome

This is one tradition that could just die and I don’t think many will care. I’m talking about the recently…
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Canton can rebrand itself, but it won’t be easy
 

Canton can rebrand itself, but it won’t be easy

With the right leadership, it can happen. If the national and regional economy continues chugging along for another few years…
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Friday night lights still shining bright
 

Friday night lights still shining bright

“So, you’re a band parent, huh? Boy, is your life about to change.” My wife and I heard that a…
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Tourism figures point to a post-recession recovery
 

Tourism figures point to a post-recession recovery

Recently released figures on the impact of tourism in Western North Carolina are encouraging. More visitors are spending more money,…
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This is one ride I’m not gonna miss
 

This is one ride I’m not gonna miss

Some of them arrive four or five days early, packed up and just sitting there on the Haywood County Fairgrounds…
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My ‘year of lasts’ is officially underway
 

My ‘year of lasts’ is officially underway

I was watching my son’s soccer game last night and the old Al Stewart tune, “Time Passages,” kept running through…
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GOP’s Trump problem won’t be easily resolved
 

GOP’s Trump problem won’t be easily resolved

I would wager that I despise politics just about as much as you do. Whatever your political affiliation, we would…
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The public – not the newspaper – deserves to know
 

The public – not the newspaper – deserves to know

I’m sure the founders of Haywood County’s new charter school — Shining Rock Classical Academy — never imagined a week…
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