It’s time to approve dealers at Harrah’s casino
 

It’s time to approve dealers at Harrah’s casino

Been to the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino? Even if you don’t gamble, I’d encourage a walk through. My bet is you’d…
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The wheels of justice got stuck in the mud
 

The wheels of justice got stuck in the mud

I’ve loved rock and roll music all of my life. When I was a teenager, I listened to Fleetwood Mac…
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Park proposals add insult to injury
 

Park proposals add insult to injury

I recently wrote in the Swain County newspaper about a singularly misguided proposal by Great Smoky Mountains National Park leadership…
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Leading by example creates lasting legacies
 

Leading by example creates lasting legacies

Many people who lead exceptional lives never break an arm trying to pat themselves on their own back. They just…
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Life seems so good that nostalgia sets in
 

Life seems so good that nostalgia sets in

“It’s like floating on a cloud,” that’s what the man in the booth said about his nifty adjustable hammocks. We…
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Wake up America, the world is watching
 

Wake up America, the world is watching

From the hotel window in Durban, South Africa, I can see the Indian Ocean. Freighters line the horizon like parapets…
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Heat wave makes for a long, slow bake at the beach
 

Heat wave makes for a long, slow bake at the beach

EDISTO, S.C. — If you’re going to roast in a record-breaking heat wave anyway, you might as well do it…
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Leave politics at the door and enjoy Folkmoot USA
 

Leave politics at the door and enjoy Folkmoot USA

I’ve been volunteering with the Folkmoot USA International Dance Festival for about 15 years. It’s one of the most culturally…
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Proposed 11th District rips out the center of WNC
 

Proposed 11th District rips out the center of WNC

Redistricting is always political, and voters on both sides have to accept that. The party with a majority will get…
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It is time for shared responsibility and sacrifice
 

It is time for shared responsibility and sacrifice

Today, in Macon County and throughout America, debate is under way regarding two basic principles:  (1) the size, shape and…
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What does Harvard know about milk, anyway?
 

What does Harvard know about milk, anyway?

You’ve probably seen the ads. Some famous face sports a white “milk mustache” and encourages you to drink more milk.…
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Summer in the mountains: baptisms and clotheslines
 

Summer in the mountains: baptisms and clotheslines

“Sowing in the sunshine, sowing in the shadows, we shall come rejoicing bringing in the sheets.” — (slight adaptation from…
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Expecting little, what we get is even less
 

Expecting little, what we get is even less

Groucho Marx once said, “I wouldn’t want to be a member of any club that would have someone like me…
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Appreciating good stories, civic engagement
 

Appreciating good stories, civic engagement

A week before this week’s dedication of the new Jackson County Library complex, this newspaper’s 12th birthday passed almost unnoticed…
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Six pints of Guinness and a glass of milk
 

Six pints of Guinness and a glass of milk

What do Barack Obama and my son have in common? They both visited Ireland in May. Obama, though, was proud…
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SCC road gets mired in questions about motives
 

SCC road gets mired in questions about motives

A planned new access road that will provide an exit and entrance into Southwestern Community College in Webster should not…
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Common sense loses to ideology in House budget proposal
 

Common sense loses to ideology in House budget proposal

North Carolina is facing a budget crisis. I get that. What I don’t get is the proposed slashing of so…
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Classrooms, like the rest of us, forced to make do
 

Classrooms, like the rest of us, forced to make do

For both teachers in the classroom and local administrators, this is shaping up to be the most challenging budget year…
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Downtown Sylva deserves the support of the town board
 

Downtown Sylva deserves the support of the town board

We’ve written before about how important the downtown business districts in our mountain towns are to their communities, but it…
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I know the game is rigged, but I’m still all in
 

I know the game is rigged, but I’m still all in

The crane games are beautiful beasts, shiny and brightly lit, with a glass belly full of forlorn and lonely stuffed…
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Recession makes McCoy Bridge rehab an even better idea
 

Recession makes McCoy Bridge rehab an even better idea

Governments at all levels and all across the nation are broke. At every county courthouse and state house, money taken…
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Finding a creative way out of the real estate dilemma
 

Finding a creative way out of the real estate dilemma

By Mark Jamison • Guest Columnist A fellow once asked me, about a car I was selling, “What’s the least…
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For better or worse, for normal or weird
 

For better or worse, for normal or weird

One of the advantages of getting older is that you learn a few things if you pay attention. For example,…
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Cutting administrative costs preserves jobs, quality of education
 

Cutting administrative costs preserves jobs, quality of education

By Linda Seested-Stanford • Guest columnist In last week’s Smoky Mountain News, coverage of the reorganization of Western Carolina University’s…
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Justice will be painful, but so was Aubrey’s short life
 

Justice will be painful, but so was Aubrey’s short life

The Jan. 10 death of 15-month-old Aubrey Kina Marie Littlejohn was an unspeakable tragedy, one compounded by the questions surrounding…
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Make open government a part of constitution
 

Make open government a part of constitution

In this country, the people own the government. It’s ours. End of debate. That’s something we can all be thankful…
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What happened to all the big, sweeping ideas?
 

What happened to all the big, sweeping ideas?

Growing up, I knew America was the country of grand ideas carried out from the moral high ground. We could…
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Neighbor leaves a legacy of kindness
 

Neighbor leaves a legacy of kindness

It was not my best day. I had just got home with the kids, who seemed a little grumpy because…
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Budgets and politics clashing across the land
 

Budgets and politics clashing across the land

Politics and state budgets aren’t usually that interesting, but this year that’s not the case. Ideologies are clashing as lawmakers…
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Just look around, and cultural pursuits abound
 

Just look around, and cultural pursuits abound

After high school, I moved downstate to attend music school. I lived for a number of years in Greensboro and…
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Turn down the global warming, I’m freezing
 

Turn down the global warming, I’m freezing

By George Ivey • Guest Columnist Many years ago on Capitol Hill, a politician said to me, “George, as you…
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Vindication for HEP, a little satisfaction here
 

Vindication for HEP, a little satisfaction here

This is a very odd business, the telling of the news. It’s even more odd as part of an independent…
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This epiphany is shiny, new and has all-wheel drive
 

This epiphany is shiny, new and has all-wheel drive

My epiphany occurred on a bitter cold Sunday afternoon, the snow having momentarily given way to a stray and fleeting…
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Comment

A place where two worlds collide head-on
 

A place where two worlds collide head-on

By Scott Muirhead • Guest ColumnistFrog Level is what remains of the golden age of the railroads, the age when…
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Words have a power we often forget
 

Words have a power we often forget

Just as I was sitting down to write my column on the controversy surrounding a new edition of Mark Twain’s…
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Mistake is a reminder to tell it like it is
 

Mistake is a reminder to tell it like it is

“… but a belief in hard work and treating others fairly was ingrained from a very early age in my…
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Property values affected election and are a looming problem
 

Property values affected election and are a looming problem

By Mark Jamison • Guest Columnist During the recent election for county commissioner in Jackson County, both sides made reference…
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Hagan, Senate wrong on DREAM Act
 

Hagan, Senate wrong on DREAM Act

Few things are as maddening to me as when politics gets in the way of doing the right thing. That’s…
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Jackson’s new leaders have room for improvement
 

Jackson’s new leaders have room for improvement

A bit of a stumble out of the gate can be forgiven among newcomers in any endeavor, but that stumble…
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Remembering Terry … and not too fondly
 

Remembering Terry … and not too fondly

When I was in the fourth grade, some dirtbag stole my hat. But it wasn’t any old dirtbag, and it…
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Comment

Shuler is making the most of his opportunities
 

Shuler is making the most of his opportunities

I don’t particularly remember U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville, from our days growing up in Swain County. He is younger…
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Comment

Kephart, transplants and the debate over legitimacy
 

Kephart, transplants and the debate over legitimacy

You can be excused for perhaps having overlooked the recent fireworks, but a minor war has erupted over one of…
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Comment

Striking a balance between objectivity and truth
 

Striking a balance between objectivity and truth

There is an interesting disconnect in how some people perceive my job and how I perceive my job. This was…
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Comment

All of it – glory, honor, M&Ms – just one hit away
 

All of it – glory, honor, M&Ms – just one hit away

It was a perfect day for baseball: blue sky, a crisp breeze, the sun still hanging like a pop fly…
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The bottom of the ticket is next to sink into the slime
 

The bottom of the ticket is next to sink into the slime

It’s Election Day (or very early morning, actually) as I sit to finish this, and the theme of the day…
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Thirty years later, partying like it’s 1979
 

Thirty years later, partying like it’s 1979

James looks at me, briefly averts his eyes, then looks at me again, this time with a purpose and a…
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Comment

Sometimes public comment just muddies the water
 

Sometimes public comment just muddies the water

When Haywood county commissioners decided a few weeks ago to adopt new rules guiding public comment at their meetings, some…
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Sylva’s cool factor rising, and keeping Annie’s helps
 

Sylva’s cool factor rising, and keeping Annie’s helps

I’ve been thinking recently about what makes Sylva so cool. In my view, it has only been in the last…
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The truth still matters, even in politics
 

The truth still matters, even in politics

Just tell the truth. That’s what we teach our children, it’s what we need from our loved ones, and it’s…
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Obama’s stumbles open door for conservatives
 

Obama’s stumbles open door for conservatives

By Kirkwood Callahan • Guest Columnist Two years ago, America’s newest political superstar, Barack Obama, walked across campaign stages to…
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