When being a mom breaks your heart

Being a mom is always hard, but there is something uniquely challenging about parenting an adolescent. For me, it felt like my 12-year-old morphed into a young man overnight. Within one calendar year, he grew six inches and three shoe sizes. I watched his pants grow shorter each day like he was a superhero molting into a larger, more powerful form. Suddenly his voice was deeper, and I found myself grasping for his little boy octave, the one without the baritone sound and crackly inflection.   

Our public health crisis is not over yet

Allison Richmond • Guest Columnist | Haywood County is struggling to cope with a very unusual situation, two separate states of emergency happening at the same time. A month and a half ago, historic flooding brought loss and anguish to our community, and while that is devastation enough, for nearly two years now COVID-19 has threatened the health of every one of us.

One of those moments — the Rolling Stones

I bought my first record when I was 11 years old — a 45-rpm single by the Rolling Stones called “Angie” — at the Roses in Galax, Virginia. My Uncle Elgin used to drive Aunt Lillie and Mamaw over there to do some shopping, and if I was staying over (as I often was), I’d go with them and look at comic books and get myself a giant cherry Slushie. 

So many good things in one place

The socket wrench felt comfortable in my hands, which was a good thing: a quick look in a nearby box revealed dozens of large bolts with washers awaiting the attention of our crew. I’ve always enjoyed tools, working with my hands, building or putting things together.

A new day dawns for downtown Waynesville

It was tough to witness the demise of the Downtown Waynesville Association. The DWA has a long, proud history, one of dedicated volunteers who through hard work and smarts filled empty storefronts and changed Waynesville forever.

Learning from the young to protect our planet

My 12-year-old son is extraordinarily inquisitive. Since he was a little boy, he’s inquired about everything from politics and finances to sports and geography to space and the environment to all topics in between. He loves to learn and fully absorbs all the knowledge he acquires, to the point where he’s often concerned about the outcome or implications of what’s going on in this big, confusing world of ours. 

Politicians pandering to American paranoia

By Martin Dyckman • Guest Columnist | Two heart-rending articles occupied the front page of the Florida newspaper that I was reading online two Sundays ago. 

One told the stories of people who had survived the 9/11 attacks 20 years ago. The other followed a nurse through a 12-hour shift in a hospital’s intensive care ward for COVID-19 patients. Three had died the day before. More will this day. Most of her patients, including a 36-year-old mother of two, are not expected to live. An older woman codes seven times before her suffering ends. The one patient who is recovering is the only one in the ward who was vaccinated.

Reflections of a 9/11 mental health volunteer

By Scott Hinkle • Guest Columnist | Twenty years ago on September 14, I was one of only two passengers on a U.S. Airways flight from North Carolina to LaGuardia Airport in New York City to volunteer for the American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Team, assisting families with processing the deaths of their loved ones. As part of the initial team to develop a rapid death certificate response, we met in Brooklyn and planned our program for completing the official certificates of death for grieving families. 

Finding an antidote in baseball

Aside from the global darkness of a pandemic, political strife, natural disasters and the impending anniversary of 9/11, there is grief on a local and personal level as well. 

The time to act on climate change is now

By Steve Wall • Guest Columnist | The place — Canton; the time — 7 a.m.; the date — September 9, 2004. 

Mayor Pat Smathers and I walked down Park Street in disbelief. Colonial Theater, Canton Medical Office, police and city offices had all flooded with up to seven feet of water from the Pigeon River. Hurricanes Ivan and Frances hit within a week and left a grim mark on Haywood County. That was 2004.

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