Separating news and facts from opinions

A message came back to me from an advertiser via one of our ad reps. He said we needed to quit running so many “liberal” articles.

This newspaper has been my life and a 21-year labor of love, so I always listen intently to criticisms and critiques. Especially in cases like this, where I’ve known the business owner for years and know he’s no dummy. I feel certain the criticism is of our opinion pages, where the overwhelming number of letters this election season has been in favor of Democratic candidates for Congress and the state legislature or from those against President Trump.

Pless’ behavior should worry voters

By Heather Hyatt Packer • Guest Columnist | When our government leaders deliberately mislead or lie to us, there is no immediate consequence. We would never hire or retain an employee who lacks personal integrity or responsibility, yet we seem to accept that the lack of integrity in political leadership is the norm — even at the local level. 

As school gets going, a lingering anxiety

Elementary schools will open their doors and welcome students back over the next few days, and middle and high schools are getting into the groove of remote and in-class learning. Planning by administrators and teachers has been underway for months. 

What to expect as you prepare to vote

By Kirk Stephens • Guest Columnist | Our nation will hold an election this November, as it has always done, without regard of war or peace, prosperity or uncertainty. The Covid-19 pandemic will present a unique set of challenges, but as much as possible, the election will be conducted as normally as possible. As Chairman of the Jackson County Board of Elections, I would like to share some specifics of what you should expect when voting this year.

Who is the real ‘sucker’ and ‘loser’?

By Mike Leatherwood • Guest Columnist | When I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers in 1963, I took this oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

Sept. 11, 2001

September 11 snuck up on me this year. I was listening to public radio this morning when they discussed commemorations happening today at Ground Zero.

All of a sudden it took me back to that Tuesday morning 19 years ago. In my world, the last 20 years of Tuesdays have been press days, the time when all hands are on deck at the newspaper as we try to finish stories, design the paper and send it to the press so it can be delivered on Wednesday mornings.

Pandemic prompts huge absentee ballot request

What’s happening in North Carolina right now with absentee ballot requests is staggering. 

Currently there are around 7.1 million registered voters in North Carolina. Breaking it down, there are 2.55 million Democrats, 2.13 million Republicans, and 2.37 million unaffiliated and a sprinkling of Green, Libertarian and other party affiliations.

The shadow pandemic takes its toll

Lately I’ve been feeling tightness in my chest, an inability to take a nice relaxing breath. When I told my boyfriend this, he asked if I felt OK otherwise. We live in a time where anything related to breathing is immediately connected to COVID-19. How I knew it wasn’t a virus is that when I went on a long run, my breathing got easier, not more labored. When I slowed down for a five-minute meditation, my breathing calmed.

Southern pride has a dark history

To the Editor: Haywood County 2020: I can’t drive down the street without seeing a representation of a Confederate flag. It’s flying in my neighbor’s yard, waving from the backs of unnecessarily jacked up trucks, and on T-shirts, hats and bumper stickers. Let’s be honest, you can’t swing a possum without hitting the stars and bars. 

If you stay home, just keep quiet

If you don’t vote, then just shut up. You don’t even really deserve the right to be heard. Especially when you consider the treatment many in this country endured before — and after — they earned to right to vote.

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