Language has changed but racism remains

Though we are as divided as we have ever been as a country, the one thing we seemed to be able to agree on is that recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd were heinous, both reminders that the evil of racism still exists in America. We shared this “common ground” for about five minutes before the waves of protests and rioting began, and then the sudden abrupt shift in focus by one group from the murders to the reaction to the murders revealed that we had not, after all, reached some new level of mutual understanding.

Justice for all? Hopefully, one day in the future

When I saw the video of the mostly young crowd marching Monday night in Waynesville to protest the killing of George Floyd and the systemic, violent racism that still exists in this country, it gave me a jolt. I was proud of those who turned out, but also feared it would turn violent. It didn’t, and it’s these mostly young people who will bring needed changes to this country if those of my generation can just get the hell out of the way. And that this small protest happened in this place in Western North Carolina where people of color are so few made it even more meaningful. 

Celebrating a pivotal year

Many are focused on graduations right now. Amidst the pandemic and nationwide protesting, we’re trying to help our young people celebrate this pivotal time in their lives. While the hype is primarily on high school and college graduates, there are other important transitions that have gotten lost due to COVID-19. 

What a ride: Born after 9/11, graduating during the pandemic

By Molly Boothroyd • Guest Columnist | Who would have thought the year 2020 could be so negative, life-changing but also filled with so much joy? 

I have patiently waited my turn for the many celebratory Pisgah High School senior traditions. Wearing a red cap and gown as my fellow seniors walk down the halls to loud cheering in our previous elementary and middle school. Hugging our teachers and giving high fives to younger students telling them to “work hard and graduate!” The senior picnic celebration after the group senior 2020 class photo. Spending one last day together eating and hanging out before heading off in different directions. 

The oh-so-sweet sound of bat and baseball

When our son, Jack, joined the high school marching band, he promptly announced his official retirement from baseball, unceremoniously closing the book on a 10-year career — from tee ball to senior league — that included at least a hundred games and untold thousands of practices, including those earliest ones in our back yard, where I taught him, among other things, how to turn his glove to catch the ball and how to shift his weight when swinging the bat.

A powerful need to help those in need

National Emergency Medical Services Week is May 17-23, and in the midst of a global pandemic the timing resonates more this year than at any other moment in recent memory. What these men and women do — whether it be EMTs, those in the medical field, firemen and the police — has never been more essential to helping our society maintain some semblance of normalcy and order. 

We’ve been here before … sort of

It’s funny how you can hear a story your entire life but don’t see its relevance until it smacks you in the face. 

Since childhood, my parents have told me the tale of the Hong Kong flu (H3N2 virus) during the winter of 1968. They weren’t sure where they contracted it initially. At the time, my dad was a student at Mars Hill College and worked as a short order cook in the student center. My mom was in her first year teaching public school. Both places were most likely rampant with germs. 

What we do to survive, and why

It seems every time I sit down to write these days, it has something to do with journalism and the state of our industry. Forgive me my obsession, but during this time of isolation it’s difficult to concentrate for long on any other topic. I am obsessed — a strong word, I know, but the truth —  with steering our company through this strange, once-in-a-lifetime business disruption.

Time to re-ignite national service programs

By Bob Scott • Guest Columnist | COVID-19 has given me the opportunity to sit and think. Not just daydream. I am not sure whether this is good or bad. This is one of those times.

I thought back to the time six months ago when everything was normal. A young lady and a young gentleman, both Franklin High School grads now finishing college, asked me to write them a letter of reference. I was honored to do so. I believe we will hear great triumphs from them as they experience life. FHS does that. 

Look for the best in this new normal

By Nick Breedlove • Guest Columnist | Every May we commemorate National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) to celebrate the value travel holds for our economy, businesses, and personal wellbeing. This year’s NTTW theme is “Spirit of Travel.” As we look at the recent events and the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and how it has forever altered communities and lives around the world, it proves difficult to celebrate anything at the moment. However, now more than ever is the time for us to band together in support of the industry that offers so much hope, joy, and inspiration. 

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