Persistence pays off in rebel mascot issue

When I read that Annie McCord-Wilson was among those leading the charge to have the rebel removed as the mascot of her daughter’s elementary school — Cullowhee Valley — I almost couldn’t believe it. 

In 2002 when The Smoky Mountain News was only three years old and trying to establish itself as an information source for the region, I read a fantastic letter to the editor in the Sylva Herald. It was written by then-eighth-grader Annie McCord, and I was astonished at her maturity. Here’s an excerpt from that letter discussing the use of the rebel as a mascot:

Broken wrist presages my new reality

I started snowboarding when I was 15. Even though neither of my parents were athletes, especially skiers or snowboarders, I joined my flock of teenage friends and braved the mountain to learn this popular winter sport. We lived a mere 15 miles from Wolf Ridge and I knew, even then, it would be silly not to take advantage of the proximity. Not everyone gets to grow up close to ski resort. 

A modest proposal for Medicare

By Steven Wall • Guest Columnist | With so much division in our country, and some  folks even losing faith in democratic government, I would like to offer a proposal concerning Medicare. I do this in the hope that such a proposal if implemented could help restore some  faith in  government. 

It is a steep hill we climb

Last Wednesday was a day women have been waiting for, working for, speaking out of turn for, making trouble for — for hundreds of years now. 

On Jan. 20, 2021, Kamala Harris was sworn in as Vice President of the United States of America. She was given the oath of office by Justice Sonya Sotomayor, the first Hispanic, Latinx member of the Supreme Court. Later in the ceremony Jennifer Lopez performed “America the Beautiful” and the youngest ever inaugural poet, Amanda Gorman, recited her inaugural poem. 

Lessons learned from Larry King

Growing up I wasn’t a fan of Larry King. As a little girl in the 1980s, I was more concerned with my Cabbage Patch Dolls and Whitney Houston cassette tapes, so when my parents turned on “Larry King Live” at night to catch his latest interview, I zoned out. I lumped his show in the same category as “MASH” and “Hill Street Blues,” all three of which my parents loved and I eventually came to enjoy.

For at least a while, all the noise stopped

Short escapes from all of the noise coming from everywhere are so refreshing, so worthwhile. 

The holidays were a fantastic time at our home. Lori and I and our children and their partners had been spending time together since the pandemic started, had been tested, and so we felt safe getting together. My birthday is Dec. 18, a week before Christmas, so from then until New Year’s Day we had children visiting, excursions out and about, long dinners and a relatively busy holiday. Great times, especially in this year when so much was not normal.

Just remember, this too shall pass

I recently saw a funny political sign that said, “Presidents are temporary, Grateful Dead is forever.” Did you know that less than one-percent of Americans can name every U.S. president? That being said, I bet anyone you stop on the street can name a musician or song that’s contributed something powerful to one’s life. 

Scrapping Electoral College could stop a tyrant

By Martin Dyckman • Guest Columnist | During the Spanish Civil War, which the Fascists won, one of their generals said there was a “fifth column” inside Madrid that would capture the capital before any of their four advancing formations could reach the city. Ever since, the phrase has stood for any group of disloyal people aiming to subvert their own country.

A promise to keep on keepin’ on

How does one best express gratitude?

That thought kept coming up as I sat down to write a column for this week’s paper. After the rush of a holiday season that was so different, I found myself in our quiet mountain house on an unseasonably warm and sunny day pondering the year to come with more than a little excitement. This is going to be another memorable year, and I can’t wait to push forward.

Freedom isn’t free

By Heather Hyatt Packer • Guest Columnist | There’s a lot of discussion about freedom, rights and patriotism when discussing coronavirus restrictions. Americans today have no idea what it means to make sacrifices for the greater good nor do they seem interested. We’re in the throes of a national crisis. Coronavirus is very real. Many in our community have lost their lives or face long-term health problems. Yet a large number of residents are still in denial, though I’m not sure it’s denial. It’s defiance.

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