Deaths, possibly from flu, shock Haywood County

A pair of deaths from what’s being called a “flu-like illness” rocked Haywood County last week, underscoring the importance both of prevention and of recognizing the symptoms of what can still be a very dangerous virus.

Because one day they aren’t there

The hardest thing to get used to is the stillness. The quiet. The absolute absence of any movement at all. Day after day, everything is just as it was the day before.

His old Ford pickup is backed up to the garage, with the headlights pointing straight at our deck like a pair of eyes keeping watch. His late wife’s Subaru — which he could never bring himself to sell after she had a heart attack and passed away on the first day of their tropical vacation 10 years ago — is on the other side, nosed up to the garage door, as if hoping to gain entry. Between them is the golf cart he rode every day down the steep driveway, and then up the road to fetch his mail, with our chihuahua mix keeping pace and barking furiously as he chased along inside our fenced-in yard.

‘Any Other Place’ provides lessons in living

Literature at its best is a fast-track course in human nature. From Shakespeare we can, if we are attentive, learn more about the human heart than from years of living. The same can be said for reading such writers as Jane Austen, William Faulkner, Marilynne Robinson, John Gardner, and scores of others. We pour ourselves a cup of tea, sit in a chair, open a book, and find ourselves caught up in the emotions and thoughts of strangers who as we read become our familiars. From them we can deepen our knowledge of love and death, of triumph and disaster, of how it feels to wake in the morning with the taste of defeat in our mouth or to slip into sleep at night knowing that we have just met the person we are meant to marry.

This must be the place: Let it wander on my mind. Goodbye, Neal.

Heartbroken and stunned. That’s about all I can say or feel at this moment with the tragic passing of singer-songwriter and guitarist Neal Casal. 

Death, violence and too many guns

By John Beckman • Guest Columnist

It is time that we honestly faced up to the basic issues concerning gun violence. For too long people on both sides have skirted around the core of the issue with worn out platitudes, specious arguments, and canned sound-bite justifications. 

The latest shootings in El Paso and Dayton raised our unbelievable tally of mass shootings to 251 in the last 216 days. They are commonplace in the U.S.; a daily occurrence.

Park Service seeks information regarding man’s death

Investigators with the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch are trying to determine the circumstances surrounding the death of David Carver, Jr., who was found in Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Monday, July 8. They are seeking information from the public to make that determination. 

No negligence in Jackson jail death, DA says

After reviewing a State Bureau of Investigation probe into the January death of Melissa Middleton Rice, who at the time was in custody of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, the District Attorney’s Office has decided that there are no grounds to press charges in the case. 

Motorist dies on Clingmans Dome Road

Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers responded to a single-car motor vehicle accident on Clingmans Dome Road at approximately 12:30 p.m. on Monday, July 15. The driver of the vehicle, Timothy Patrick James McCauley, 37, of Farmington, Missouri died as a result of his injuries. The passenger, Angela Walker, 38, was flown to University of Tennessee Medical Center by Lifestar.

Deceased man found in Smokies identified

The identity of a man whose remains were found in an off-trail area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this week has been released.

Searchers found David J. Carver, 64, of Blount County, Tennessee, near Laurel Creek Road between Townsend and Cades Cove on Monday, July 8, after receiving a tip from an off-trail hiker. His remains appeared to be several months old.

The Knox County Regional Forensic Center identified Carver by comparing medical records. The cause of death and activity at time of death are under investigation. An autopsy is being performed, and no additional details are currently available.

This must be the place: Ode to Jeff Austin, ode to the power of music

The hardest part of being a journalist, and especially one whose core focus is music, is seeing those you were lucky enough to meet, interview and write about, pass away. 

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