Who is your neighbor? Being Black in Waynesville

By Brandi Hinnant-Crawford • Guest Columnist | In 2014, on my 30th birthday, I got a call from my former department head offering me a job at Western Carolina University. I was ecstatic; I was going home. Upstate New York winters are not kind to girls raised in the south (aka GRITS), and the Old North State is the state I love more than any other in the union — everyone was happy. Two years after living in Jackson County, I heard about these amazing kindergarten classrooms at Hazelwood Elementary; I wanted my kids to have this wonderful experience. After apartment living for two years, I moved into a colleague’s house in Waynesville. Finally—the west was feeling like home. My kids had a yard, and I had Belk (Modern, Southern, Style!). Plus, Waynesville is halfway between my Cullowhee office and Biltmore Park classroom. Jackpot! 

Haywood County Schools needs some lessons

To the Editor:

I am writing this to the Haywood County School Board and the citizens of Haywood County.

My name is Brandon Milan. I am a decade-long resident of Haywood County and the white father of two Black children, one of whom is already a student in the Haywood County School system. 

Half of 2020 is behind us, thank goodness

I was walking my animal last night at sunset, enjoying the evening views and cool temps, thinking back to the July 4 weekend. Along the way, it hit me that half of 2020 is now in the history books. The verdict is still out as to how this time will be viewed by those who look back, but hell, it sure feels like the world is in a different orbit.

Wishful thinking won’t get us out of this

Before wading into the murk of America’s bizarre tug of war with itself in the year of COVID-19, let’s first stipulate one thing: we’d all love for this to be over. Wearing masks, social distancing, arguing with people on social media over who and what to believe, some of us sweating out every decision on where we can go and who we can see and what we can do and not do any time we venture out of our little quarantine cocoons, others proceeding with their lives as if not one thing has changed. We’re just over it, OK?

Substance still matters in politics

Haywood County resident Lynda Bennett was beaten badly in the Republican runoff primary for Congress last week against 24-year-old political newcomer Madison Cawthorn. As a reporter and editor who has been involved in the coverage of more than a dozen races for this congressional seat, I was heartened by her loss.

Songbirds, stars and the Fourth of July

Every morning around 5:15, the birds start chirping outside my window. The past several months I’ve been trying to figure out which song goes with which type of bird. It’s made me realize why people become fascinated with these beautiful creatures. Each day, at the same time, they start singing their songs. And every morning, no matter what stress I’m under, their songs make me smile. 

Looking for answers in a time of uncertainty

By Bob Scott • Guest Columnist | I am in the market for a good, slightly used, Ouija Board.  I need it to make accurate predictions of what is to come in Franklin and our westernmost counties as we face uncertain times and as we begin to reopen. 

COVID-19 has been devastating health-wise as well as economically. 

Walter moves on to a far greener cow pasture

Maybe we should have named our beagle-mix Lazarus, so often did he seemingly come back from the dead over the years. But we named him Walter and we figure he must have turned 18 earlier this year. There have been days when we didn’t think he could get up, days we found him on the porch flat on his belly, his legs splayed in opposite directions like a beginning skier who has fallen and can’t figure out how to get back up. We’d sit with him, give him more Glucosamine, scrub his ears, discuss our options, and hope for the best.

Raising boys against the grain

Good girls are raised to be quiet, dainty and accommodating. Real boys are raised to be competitive, successful and tough. Girls can cry. Boys cannot. Girls are soft-spoken. Boys are boisterous. 

I’m a mom to white little boys who will grow up to become white men. In America, white men have it pretty easy. They have both privileges that are institutionalized in our society. 

Graduates, you’ll miss this place we call home

By Liam McLeod • Guest Columnist | To the high school Class of 2020, congratulations! There is nothing more exciting than completing high school and preparing to leave and move on toward what comes next.

It was four years ago now that I was in your shoes, a recent grad with nothing on my mind but leaving my hometown. I can tell you this, enjoy this last summer at home and don’t wish it away. College is exciting and extremely fast-paced. These four years at UNCC have felt like one year at Tuscola, though I’ve grown and changed more than I ever could have in high school. I learned many lessons in my first year of college, but there’s one that sticks out the most to me: our home is unlike any other in North Carolina. 

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