Proud to be an American ... sort of
 

Proud to be an American ... sort of

Since I was old enough to talk, I’ve been told that being an American was something special, something I could…
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I’ve got Confederates in my attic, but let’s get over it
 

I’ve got Confederates in my attic, but let’s get over it

Even though there’s little room for compromise, I’m going to step into the fray. Haywood County commissioners are trying to…
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Hospital affiliation may be best chance for survival
 

Hospital affiliation may be best chance for survival

Count me among those who hope the MedWest affiliation between Haywood, Jackson and Swain hospitals survives. Otherwise, I fear none…
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Raymond Fairchild and a vanishing tradition
 

Raymond Fairchild and a vanishing tradition

By Charles and Cynthia Seeley • Guest Columnists I am a visitor to Maggie Valley. My husband, two friends and…
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Endowment a fitting legacy for Mib and Phil Medford
 

Endowment a fitting legacy for Mib and Phil Medford

When Lori and I moved to Waynesville with our then 2-year-old daughter Megan, we made a conscious choice to build…
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Barking dogs problem a symptom of a cultural shift
 

Barking dogs problem a symptom of a cultural shift

By John Beckman • Guest Columnist I’ve read the letters regarding the barking dogs issue and the responses from both…
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GOP leaders push unfunded mandate to counties
 

GOP leaders push unfunded mandate to counties

North Carolina’s General Assembly — under the leadership of Republicans for the first time in more than a century— will…
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Can the dream stay alive for another generation?
 

Can the dream stay alive for another generation?

“You know, this is really the only thing I know I’ve wanted to do my whole life.” That was my…
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Thanks for the memories, thanks for being there
 

Thanks for the memories, thanks for being there

I loved Andy Griffith as much as it is possible to love someone you’ve actually never met. In some very…
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Reduced energy use is natural part of Euro life
 

Reduced energy use is natural part of Euro life

We were nearing the end of our European summer vacation with three other families from Western North Carolina when we…
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The fleeting years of childhood give way to a strange, new world
 

The fleeting years of childhood give way to a strange, new world

 My daughter has arrived at an impossible age — impossible for her, impossible for me, impossible for her mother, impossible…
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No good reason for such a colorful plate debate
 

No good reason for such a colorful plate debate

State senators from the mountain region — and we’re especially talking about those representing the southwest, Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin,…
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Teachers get sympathy from readers, peers
 

Teachers get sympathy from readers, peers

You never know what subject in a column will incite readers and friends to open up and express their feelings.…
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End of school year teaches some bad lessons
 

End of school year teaches some bad lessons

Each spring as the school year winds down, I can’t decide whether to laugh or cry. As preparations for end-of-year,…
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Test farm helps WNC growers stay ‘ahead of the game’
 

Test farm helps WNC growers stay ‘ahead of the game’

You’d be hard pressed to name a state-run entity more closely aligned with the region it serves than the Mountain…
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Swain residents don’t deserve another broken promise
 

Swain residents don’t deserve another broken promise

“It’s like déjà vu all over again,” quipped the legendary Yogi Berra after watching Yankee greats Mickey Mantle and Roger…
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Tell legislators to keep a good thing going
 

Tell legislators to keep a good thing going

The specialty license plates that have provided millions of dollars for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue…
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Voters should defeat bigotry and Amendment One
 

Voters should defeat bigotry and Amendment One

If Amendment One is defeated on May 8, North Carolinians will have made the right decision by refusing to support…
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Hospital system wants dialogue with community
 

Hospital system wants dialogue with community

By Steve Heatherly At the April 16 Jackson County Commissioners’ meeting, a physician stated his concerns about the future of…
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Farming frees the spirit, especially for this goat
 

Farming frees the spirit, especially for this goat

I was fortunate enough this past weekend to be present when a mother goat gave birth to two babies, and…
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A few meaningful moments with the local wildlife
 

A few meaningful moments with the local wildlife

I heard a distinctive gobble gobble gobble one recent evening through the open windows and French doors of the cabin…
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Our sister publication takes the Smokies nationwide
 

Our sister publication takes the Smokies nationwide

The revelation was at first surprising and then disappointing. So I’ll take a stab here at shedding some light on…
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Staring over the edge of the political divide
 

Staring over the edge of the political divide

Question: How does one come to the conclusion that the upcoming General Assembly short session will almost certainly be an…
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Squeezing a little basketball into my life of madness
 

Squeezing a little basketball into my life of madness

While I can appreciate that many citizens get caught up in this so-called “March Madness” every year, I no longer…
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WCU’s literary festival promises raft of talented wordsmiths
 

WCU’s literary festival promises raft of talented wordsmiths

From written word to silver screen, Western Carolina University's Spring Literary Festival will celebrate its 10th year by featuring two…
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Celebrating a society built on open government
 

Celebrating a society built on open government

We — this country, its leaders and all of us — are imperfect. We're human, and that means we get…
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The gorilla on the state’s back is getting heavy
 

The gorilla on the state’s back is getting heavy

Government at all levels needs to spend money judiciously. It is, after all, our money. I’m not convinced either major…
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When it’s all about the writing, I’m all in
 

When it’s all about the writing, I’m all in

Even after laboring for some two decades at various news publications I can’t say that I ever particularly considered myself…
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My go-to source for a shot of inspiration
 

My go-to source for a shot of inspiration

Do you have a muse? At different times in my life that role has been filled by different entities. As…
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Shuler’s ‘no’ ends successful run in politics
 

Shuler’s ‘no’ ends successful run in politics

No. It’s the biggest word in politics, often setting off a firestorm when delivered at a crucial moment. Gov. Beverly…
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Counties don’t need to be in the banking business
 

Counties don’t need to be in the banking business

In this country built on capitalism, it’s a constant source of antagonism among politicians and citizens. I’m talking about the…
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New LTLT an important voice for the region
 

New LTLT an important voice for the region

Western North Carolina residents will be well served by the merger of the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee and…
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A reminder of the inhumanity that is war
 

A reminder of the inhumanity that is war

It was pouring last Wednesday as I drove home, the cold rain  painting the winter landscape a dull grey. Standing…
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Vote on NCAE dues like a slap in the face to teachers
 

Vote on NCAE dues like a slap in the face to teachers

When the state House voted to override Gov. Beverly Perdue’s veto and stop letting teachers use payroll deductions to pay…
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A good time to get back to the beginning
 

A good time to get back to the beginning

I’ve put my keyboard-soft finger on what is probably the most common flaw of the human species: the unnerving tendency…
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Staring down a blank computer on deadline
 

Staring down a blank computer on deadline

It happens to writers much better than me. I know this, because I need only to open a book and…
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The story of the Christmas tree and the wife
 

The story of the Christmas tree and the wife

Another Christmas tragedy appeared on the horizon with the arrival of our Christmas tree. I have often thought the holiday…
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Gingrich’s rise a sad indictment on GOP field
 

Gingrich’s rise a sad indictment on GOP field

For Newt Gingrich to have floated to the top of the Republican presidential slough tells what a dismal swamp it…
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Backhanded compliments all a part of turning 50
 

Backhanded compliments all a part of turning 50

When I turned 50 last week, I did not feel any older and certainly no wiser, but I did realize…
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Could we bring Shangri-La back to the mountains?
 

Could we bring Shangri-La back to the mountains?

One fall when I was 9 years old, just about the time WWII ended, the Jackson County Elementary School was…
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No more important time than now to keep it local
 

No more important time than now to keep it local

There’s more than just a little irony the official Small Business Saturday promotion that encourages people to spend their money…
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Awful timing for Duke’s rate hike request
 

Awful timing for Duke’s rate hike request

I don’t know Duke Energy CEO James Rogers and don’t have anything against him. But it’s not very hard not…
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Once you cross the line, there’s no going back
 

Once you cross the line, there’s no going back

I followed the Janet Moore controversy from the beginning to its conclusion, which was all of three days. The former…
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Tricks, not literature, impress 6-year-olds
 

Tricks, not literature, impress 6-year-olds

By all accounts, my wife’s trip to Riverbend Elementary School to talk to Mrs. Gidcumb’s first-grade class about her career…
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Optimism in the public sphere is always refreshing
 

Optimism in the public sphere is always refreshing

The Occupy Wall Street movement is leaderless, somewhat vague and lacking vision. Still, people are joining in growing numbers around…
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Pope is pulling the strings in state politics
 

Pope is pulling the strings in state politics

The news media in this country is abuzz with talk about North Carolina. Unfortunately, it’s not flattering. What they’re saying…
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It is time to move beyond gay marriage debate
 

It is time to move beyond gay marriage debate

When will we say, “It is enough”? On Sept. 19, a 14-year-old boy named Jamey Rodemeyer from Buffalo, N.Y., committed…
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A witness to the Cherokee renaissance
 

A witness to the Cherokee renaissance

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has a resilient, independent spirit. When the U.S. government forced the majority of the…
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WCU’s future important for entire region
 

WCU’s future important for entire region

Once you hit the Haywood County line after heading west on Interstate 40 out of Asheville, Western Carolina University is…
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More media is almost always beneficial
 

More media is almost always beneficial

I don’t listen to local radio so much anymore, but the story in last week’s edition about the demise of…
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