Festival’s intangible value is immeasurable

Lori and I have always loved to travel, to go to new places or to get better acquainted with places…
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Small-town papers help knit communities together

I’m dedicating my July 4 to the courageous journalists who were murdered last week at the Capital Gazette in Maryland.…
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There’s not much room left in the gutter

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders got asked to leave a restaurant because the owner can’t stand her boss’…
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No harm in striving to understand each person

By Hannah McLeod • Guest Columnist Do not decry this generation for pushing the boundaries of respect/understanding/acceptance.  People today like…
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SB 99: Who will teach NC’s children?

This is about money. But it is also about the North Carolina Legislature’s Conference Report on Senate Bill 99, especially…
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Something is wrong with this picture

I’ve been covering local governments in North Carolina for 30 years, and a small item in Macon County’s budget for…
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If you have opinions on growth, it’s time to speak up

Fifteen or so years ago, meetings like those Monday and Tuesday night in Waynesville were all too common: private citizens…
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Tribal Council media ban a mistake

Symbolism is often just as important as reality. The decision by the Cherokee Tribal Council to ban all media from…
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Living in the moment with ALS

We rode in silence. I glanced at the clock as we came to another stoplight. Already five minutes late, I…
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Owen Gibby calls roll for the last time

The first time I met Owen Gibby, he immediately reminded me of my favorite television character of all time, Deputy…
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As Nicaragua smolders, our lives go on

We Americans are spoiled. Too often we take our way of life for granted, both the freedoms we have and…
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Make the most of every day

When I was a student at Appalachian State University, I could have made the walk from Anne Belk Library to…
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Brunch Bill is about better business, not religion

It’s one of those issues that garner headlines and controversy but really shouldn’t. I’m talking about the Brunch Bill, the…
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‘What took you so damn long, Joyce?’

It was the shortest funeral service I’ll likely ever attend. And though there were tears and somber conversations, there were…
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Student protestors deserve gratitude

I’ve always admired those who speak out, those who have opinions and feel compelled to share them.
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Can’t we just talk about gun legislation?

Last week, a United Airlines flight attendant forced a passenger with a small dog to put the dog in an…
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Too often, we ignore the calls for help

Doing nothing to enhance school safety is not an option. Thoughtful gun control measures would be helpful and are one…
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‘Your everlasting summer. You can see it fading fast’

Half the battle is just getting out of the house and on the road. Whenever we travel, we all understand…
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The pendulum will swing — it has to

Would you turn your back on a long and meaningful friendship because of widening political differences? I won’t do it,…
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NRA controls our politicians with blood money

By Martin Dyckman • Guest Columnist Cars don’t kill. Drivers do. Remember that? No one does, because although Detroit dragged…
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Breathing in the good

My life is starting to even out. And while I’m happy about this, a peaceful, comfortable life doesn’t offer as…
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Whatever you think honey, really

“I’m absolutely starving,” my wife says, digging through her purse for something as I walk into the kitchen, clearing my…
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School systems need help with class size mandate

By John deVille • Guest Columnist This is a letter I sent to Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin. Macon County Schools, Haywood…
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The feeling reminds me that journalism matters

That feeling in the pit of my stomach is familiar. I imagine it’s something like what people with ulcers feel…
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Let’s eliminate the power of the Electoral College

By Martin A. Dyckman • Guest Columnist Americans are asking why we now have a president whom they wouldn’t trust to…
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The future for this region is bright

In last week’s edition of The Smoky Mountain News we published articles about positive political and economic signs in two…
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‘Everything ahead of me’ for 2018

I have a tattoo on the inside of my right wrist that says, “Everything ahead of me.” I got it…
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If this is the new normal, God help us

As the new year dawns and I take account of everything that’s happened in the past 12 months, it’s Donald…
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Futures of WCU and WNC are inextricably linked

By David Belcher • Guest columnist I had the privilege of presiding over Western Carolina University’s Dec. 16 commencement ceremonies…
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If you’re reading this, then we thank you

In this holiday season, I have much to be thankful for. At least that’s the way I see it, though…
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Sexual violence and the workplace

By Buffy Queen • Guest Columnist “Sexual violence is a societal issue that requires systemic change. Sexual violence does not occur…
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Vision for ‘Art of Music Festival’ is attainable

“It’s exciting to think about what Haywood County could be. The desire is there.” — Buddy Melton, fiddler/singer, Balsam Range…
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Come Saturday, remember: local, local, local

I don’t like following crowds and have a naturally occurring cynicism of trends. That said, there’s one holiday promotional movement…
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Thirty-four years later, Lightning still strikes

Lightning. It’s a yellow, 20-ounce Vaughn framing hammer with one of the claws broken that I’ve owned for about 34…
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Partnering with Asheville can only help Haywood

Asheville is red hot in more ways than I can list here. Pick up a travel magazine, visit an outdoor…
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Welcome to a rising tide of young candidates

Local politics in Western North Carolina have long been dominated by the good ole boys. But like they say about…
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Do you write stories to dispel rumors?

“A lie can run around the world before the truth has its boots on.” That’s one of the few quotes…
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Gun debate a microcosm of a deeper challenge

By William Everett • Guest Columnist Garret Woodward’s Opinion piece “After tragedy in Vegas, where to from here?” (Oct. 4-10) leads…
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Save your crude posts for other websites, please

Something newspaper editors never say: “I wish that fewer people responded to that piece in last week’s paper.” Well, thanks…
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After tragedy in Vegas, where to from here?

I’ve never shot a gun. Nope. Not once. I come from a family of gun owners. I’ve held plenty of…
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Hand on heart or on bended knee — Americans all

This is what it means to be an American. I’m talking about NFL players and coaches and owners uniting to…
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The numbers don’t lie, it’s a brave new world

Some things we know, but when someone lays out the numbers and reveals in specific numbers how the big picture…
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When you come up blank, remember those who are suffering

The computer stares back, unblinking. Deadline is approaching and I’m fighting to hone in on a topic for my column.…
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Reflections on a divided America

As President Trump’s administration continues to descend further into chaos with each passing week, there are a few truths that…
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Get busy living, or get busy dying

During the 1970s, my dad spent some time in prison. For over three years, he taught GED prep classes at…
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Civil War monuments don’t stand a chance

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” — Nobel prize winning author William Faulkner This oft-trotted out line from…
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In the words of Belushi, ‘I hate Illinois Nazis’

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”…
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Striking a balance between praying and politics

Prayer as part of government meetings has a long — and often contentious — history in this country, and a…
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Supermarket flowers

My mom loved fresh flowers. It was a fun routine for my dad, sister and I to pick up a…
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We have to decide: turn left or right?

We got to the stop sign at the bottom of our mountain in our fully loaded truck — bikes, camping…
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