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. 

Food insecurity triples in WNC

Food insecurity in Western North Carolina has nearly tripled during the COVID-19 pandemic as people struggle to put food on the table. 

COVID-19, a difficult problem for nursing homes

As the holiday season progresses, Western North Carolina has seen a sharp uptick in COVID-19 cases. This rising spread has made its way into long-term care and assisted living facilities, where the elderly are at a higher risk for contraction and death. 

Federal money coming to WNC public lands

Public lands in Western North Carolina are set to get a chunk of the $950 billion approved for deferred maintenance projects with the Aug. 4 ratification of the Great American Outdoors Act. The National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service both released project lists last week. 

Shop Local Saturday: Support local businesses onsite and online

By Boyd Allsbrook • Contributing writer | This year’s post-Thanksgiving weekend of shopping holidays will be unlike any other. This should come as no surprise when one considers a market made unpredictable in the wake of a global pandemic, large swaths of the consuming public now reticent to venture outside and their consequent move to the safety of purely online vendors. 

Cleanest air on record: Pandemic accelerates long-term move toward cleaner air in N.C.

When President Richard Nixon ‘s signature on the Clean Air Act of 1970 prompted North Carolina to create its Division of Air Quality, air quality was bad in Western North Carolina. 

“Back in the ‘80s or the ‘90s, once summer hit your mountains would disappear,” recalled Jim Renfro, longtime air quality specialist for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, during an interview earlier this year. “You’re outside in the valley looking up, and you couldn’t see the mountains through the haze.”

Cold weather means COVID cases could heat up

As the colder weather settles in, many Western North Carolina counties are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases. 

Smokies seeks solutions to overcrowding

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has gotten a lot busier since its creation in 1931. In 1932, its first full year of existence, the park received only 300,000 visitors — these days, annual visitation is more than 40 times that figure, coming in at 12.5 million last year. 

Fighting for attention: When politics and professional wrestling collide

Earlier this month, nearly 300 people packed the four-bay garage of the Jackson County Rescue Squad in Sylva on a Saturday night during the height of campaign season to witness a high-stakes struggle between two fierce competitors.

They’ve been fighting over your attention on the internet and the television for what seems like forever now; they’ve got their slogans and catch phrases, their soundtracks and color schemes, their gimmicks and gags, their die-hards and their haters. One’s a hero, the other’s a villain. Countless hopes ride upon the outcome but in the end only one can be victorious. 

Smokey Mountain News Logo
SUPPORT THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN NEWS AND
INDEPENDENT, AWARD-WINNING JOURNALISM
Go to top
Payment Information

/

At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.