Meadows should re-think vote on food for poor, elderly
 

Meadows should re-think vote on food for poor, elderly

By Doug Wingeier • Guest Columnist Back in March, my wife and I, together with a couple from Brevard, paid a…
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This should be heaven – and a little hell – on wheels
 

This should be heaven – and a little hell – on wheels

My people are rooted in the South. On both mom’s and dad’s sides of the family, very few have moved…
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Needed: a just, humane immigration policy
 

Needed: a just, humane immigration policy

By Doug Wingeier • Guest Columnist With all the current media attention being focused on Syria, budget deadlines, Obamacare, and the…
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What a great day in Western North Carolina
 

What a great day in Western North Carolina

From the very first few days I lived in the mountains — as an 18-year-old freshman at Appalachian State University…
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War-weary Americans don’t want to get involved in Syria
 

War-weary Americans don’t want to get involved in Syria

By Doug Wingeier • Guest Columnist It doesn’t seem to matter which political party a president belongs to: if he…
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Cutting education spending is like eating your seed corn
 

Cutting education spending is like eating your seed corn

I’ve always loved school. Consequently, I detest what the General Assembly is doing to education. As a kid, I knew…
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New voting law doesn’t pass the smell test
 

New voting law doesn’t pass the smell test

The photo ID requirements included in the new voting law passed by the General Assembly and recently signed by Gov.…
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You can’t take a ‘pig in a poke’ to the bank
 

You can’t take a ‘pig in a poke’ to the bank

It’s difficult for me to believe that the new leadership in Raleigh would purposely sacrifice development in the state’s rural…
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Saving specialty license plates great for WNC
 

Saving specialty license plates great for WNC

The General Assembly’s renewal of the specialty license plates for North Carolina drivers surprised many only because it seemed such…
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Being in the right place at the right time
 

Being in the right place at the right time

Ever know you are in a good place at the right time? Every now and then that sentiment — about…
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N.C. should take politics out of redistricting
 

N.C. should take politics out of redistricting

By Martin Dyckman Blackbeard, North Carolina's most famous pirate, was a fitting precursor to the modern brigands at Raleigh. As…
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Legislature leading us down to new depths
 

Legislature leading us down to new depths

“Thank you sir, may I have another.” The line by Kevin Bacon from the now-classic film “Animal House” kept popping…
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DOT decision could finally lay the Southern Loop to rest
 

DOT decision could finally lay the Southern Loop to rest

I’m not sure it represents a new philosophy or perhaps is just an acknowledgement of reality, but the decision by…
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A great country needs a wise immigration policy
 

A great country needs a wise immigration policy

By Doug Wingeier • Guest Columnist In a previous letter, I described how devastating to human beings our current immigration system…
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Hoping Lake J – and its infuence – will be around for 200
 

Hoping Lake J – and its infuence – will be around for 200

The Lake Junaluska Assembly is marking its 100th anniversary this year, and a plethora of activities will take place at…
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At 14, we’re no longer a baby in the business
 

At 14, we’re no longer a baby in the business

There’s just not much exciting about turning 14, but that’s what The Smoky Mountain News turned a couple of weeks…
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Even in tight times, libraries deserve priority funding
 

Even in tight times, libraries deserve priority funding

By Doug Woodward • Guest Columnist What entity in our community serves the needs of every one of our citizens, whether…
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The boys of summer are, after all, just that – boys
 

The boys of summer are, after all, just that – boys

It was a great day for a picnic … or a baseball game. The sun hung there above the horizon…
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Room tax issue won’t change much between now and 2015
 

Room tax issue won’t change much between now and 2015

Alice Aumen, one of the owners of Cataloochee Ranch and a longtime tourism booster in Haywood County and Western North…
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Haywood commissioners win political game with school board
 

Haywood commissioners win political game with school board

Haywood County commissioners drew a line in the sand. The Haywood County School Board decided not to cross it. In…
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This time I’m sure of it; at least I think so
 

This time I’m sure of it; at least I think so

When I sat down to write a piece for this week’s paper my topic was already chosen. I was going…
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Where do we go when the public square fractures?
 

Where do we go when the public square fractures?

The “fractured public square” refers to the loss of the place where a community discusses ideas, politics and values. The…
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Despite failure, time will come for gun legislation
 

Despite failure, time will come for gun legislation

The defeat of gun control legislation in the Senate wasn’t as much surprising as it was disappointing. This is one…
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I will miss my conversations with Roger Ebert
 

I will miss my conversations with Roger Ebert

I cannot credit film critic Roger Ebert, who died just a couple of weeks ago after a lengthy battle with…
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Legislators should support Haywood room tax hike
 

Legislators should support Haywood room tax hike

The room tax hike being sought by Haywood leaders needs to pass and deserves the support of the legislative delegation…
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Prescription drug industry needs to be reined in
 

Prescription drug industry needs to be reined in

What’s deadlier than a crazed maniac in a kindergarten class with a loaded assault weapon? In the most horrifying massacre…
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Taking it easy on the obnoxious street preacher
 

Taking it easy on the obnoxious street preacher

Cigar smoke swirled around my face as the eardrum splitting street preacher invaded the festive mood of the thousands meandering…
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Investing in the region’s creative minds
 

Investing in the region’s creative minds

When the city of Asheville decided that this year’s Bele Chere street festival would be the last it funded, little…
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My journey to the center of the Earth, and back
 

My journey to the center of the Earth, and back

By Stephanie Wampler • Columnist Our Saturday morning cave adventure started out innocently enough. We would need flashlights. Check. I had…
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Don’t forget First Amendment as we debate the Second
 

Don’t forget First Amendment as we debate the Second

“The pen is mightier than the sword.” For years I had ascribed those words to Thomas Paine, the fiery British-American…
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Making tourism sustainable as economic development
 

Making tourism sustainable as economic development

By Ken Stahl • Guest Columnist There appears to be controversy concerning the proposed 2 percent occupancy tax increase. This…
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Increasing Medicare coverage could lower healthcare costs
 

Increasing Medicare coverage could lower healthcare costs

By Martin Dyckman • Guest Columnist The United States spends twice as much on health care as most other modern…
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By chance, by sea, bye bye
 

By chance, by sea, bye bye

By John Beckman • Columnist Thirty-five years ago, I moved into my first dorm room and this small-town lad had…
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This diplomacy stuff just isn’t that hard
 

This diplomacy stuff just isn’t that hard

By Stephanie Wampler • Guest Columnist Well, it seems that John Kerry is our new secretary of state, ready to…
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Majoring in philosophy? More power to you
 

Majoring in philosophy? More power to you

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory is trying to temper disparaging remarks he made early last week about the value of a…
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More than ever, schools need forest service money
 

More than ever, schools need forest service money

By Brent Martin • Guest Columnist When the 1911 Weeks Act was passed, allowing the federal government to purchase land…
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State GOP leaders’ tax plan would benefit wealthy
 

State GOP leaders’ tax plan would benefit wealthy

By Martin Dyckman • Guest Columnist A 1996 New Yorker cartoon — poking fun at Steve Forbes’s presidential campaign plank…
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Something strange is haunting our dreams
 

Something strange is haunting our dreams

The teenage cashier at the grocery store is conversing with a customer. “That’s right,” she says. “The only thing that…
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Our state's priorities have gone askew
 

Our state's priorities have gone askew

The swearing in of new Gov. Pat McCrory this past weekend brought to mind a conversation at a recent holiday…
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Doesn’t that just melt your face off?
 

Doesn’t that just melt your face off?

It all started with a simple book fair at the middle school. My daughter, inspired perhaps by viewing the trailer…
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Strong gun laws require strong politicians
 

Strong gun laws require strong politicians

By Martin Dyckman • Guest Columnist Had Al-Qaeda carried out the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Congress would be…
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Investment in mental health might provide some answers
 

Investment in mental health might provide some answers

By Bob Scott • Guest Columnist After the killing of 26 children and adults by a young man using a…
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Taking advantage of our unique attributes
 

Taking advantage of our unique attributes

The recently announced plans for a Blueways Trail focusing on the recreational uses of Western North Carolina’s waterways is one…
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A small but important investment in public transit
 

A small but important investment in public transit

It may seem a relatively unimportant issue, but in truth it is very symbolic because it recognizes a reality that…
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When the cat’s away, the boys will play
 

When the cat’s away, the boys will play

We had been dreading it all week, and now, as we stood there on a brisk Friday morning waiting on…
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Cullowhee presents a great opportunity
 

Cullowhee presents a great opportunity

We have many vibrant, attractive commercial districts in the mountains, some very small and some large and sprawling. I’m talking…
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Speaking too loudly sometimes belittles the message
 

Speaking too loudly sometimes belittles the message

My father is retired Navy, and I lived on military bases until I was 10. My stepfather is retired Army…
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Income disparity much more than a campaign issue
 

Income disparity much more than a campaign issue

I’m a late-blooming entrepreneur from a lower middle-class upbringing. My parents came from farming and mill-town childhoods, and they bought…
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The military bubble will be the next to burst
 

The military bubble will be the next to burst

Ken Jacobine • Guest Columnist As students of the Austrian School of Economics understand, financial bubbles are caused by central bank…
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Support candidates who value early childhood programs
 

Support candidates who value early childhood programs

In the Sept. 19 edition of The Smoky Mountain News, there were some disturbing quotes from some of the local…
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