An excellent history lesson

Having recently read and reviewed for the Smoky Mountain Living magazine Vicki Lane’s And The Crows Took Their Eyes, a fine novel set in Madison County during the Civil War and focused on the Shelton Laurel Massacre, this week I returned to that era with J.L. Askew’s War In The Mountains: The Macbeth Light Artillery at Asheville, N.C. 1864-1865 (Covenant Books, Inc., 2020, 535 pages).

Vaccination coverage improves in WNC

Vaccination coverage is picking up in Western North Carolina, with the percentage of the population receiving at least one dose now in the double digits for every far western county. 

WNC schools already adhering to state recommendation

Last week, North Carolina officials recommended that all schools return to in-person learning as soon as possible. 

Reparations, Six Months Later: So Far, Empty Promises

By Barbara Durr and Peter H. Lewis • Asheville Watchdog | Six months ago, as part of a reckoning on racial injustice, the City of Asheville and Buncombe County both passed resolutions to consider reparations to the Black community as a way to begin making amends for slavery and generations of systemic discrimination. The votes were hailed as “historic” by The Asheville Citizen Times, and ABC News asked, “Is Asheville a national model?”

Pro-bono legal service requests spike during COVID

As people continue to struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for pro-bono legal services has spiked, putting more demand on nonprofit legal organizations like Pisgah Legal Services and Legal Aid.

COVID vaccine supply diverted to larger counties

Just last week, Swain and Macon county health officials lamented over a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines making it to them from Raleigh, and this week they have a better understanding of why. 

Show me the way to go home: WNC’s last real ‘dive bar’ turns 15

It’s a label that some avoid at any and all costs. But, for Becky Robinson, it’s a sincere and genuine term of endearment that she wears like a badge of honor: “dive bar.” 

“We do wear it as a badge of honor. And I think it’s the comfortability factor,” Robinson said. “I feel that you can come in here and you can be comfortable. You can come in and have a good time. Everybody is welcome. You don’t have to pretend to be somebody else in here — you can just be yourself.” 

First COVID-19 vaccines make it to WNC

The COVID-19 vaccine distribution has begun in Western North Carolina with the first doses going to healthcare workers and emergency medical technicians and paramedics on the frontlines. 

Volunteers ‘fill in the gaps’ of the food security spectrum

Passing modest, nondescript houses with swing sets and dog houses in their yards, the big red pickup truck lumbered up the winding mountain road, bed filled with bread, cereal boxes, canned goods and the like. Negotiating one final hairpin, it slowly creeps into the grassy driveway of Hannah Orlikowski. 

Schools keep kids fed during pandemic

North Carolina is regularly ranked as one of the 10 hungriest states in the nation. According to Feeding America data from 2018, North Carolina had a child food insecurity rate of 19.3 percent, with Haywood County at a rate of 21 percent. During the pandemic, Feeding America found that a majority of food banks report seeing a record increase in the number of people needing help, with an average increase of 60 percent across the country. 

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