SMN staff

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To the Editor:

I fear for my country. The cause of my anxiety is the judgment that our nation has regressed beyond the point of no return. A number of events has led to that conclusion, and chief among them is America’s acceptance of Donald Trump’s neutralizing our collective ability to determine right from wrong.

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To the Editor:

In November 2020, millions of voters like me went to the polls and cast a ballot for Joe Biden. 

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Haywood County Public Health has received notice of 321 new cases of COVID-19 in the last week. 

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Homeowners and renters in Buncombe, Haywood and Transylvania counties who had uninsured losses from Tropical Storm Fred may be eligible for federal disaster assistance from FEMA. 

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A mysterious outbreak that has been affecting songbirds since May 2020 appears to be subsiding, and thanks to diligent reporting from North Carolina residents it seems to not be much affecting birds in the state, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission announced last week. 

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UPDATE: Due to rising COVID-19 cases, the Sept. 25 event has been postponed until next spring. A full weekend of fun over April 23-24, 2022, is now planned to coincide with Earth Day. 

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By Martin Dyckman • Guest Columnist | Two heart-rending articles occupied the front page of the Florida newspaper that I was reading online two Sundays ago. 

One told the stories of people who had survived the 9/11 attacks 20 years ago. The other followed a nurse through a 12-hour shift in a hospital’s intensive care ward for COVID-19 patients. Three had died the day before. More will this day. Most of her patients, including a 36-year-old mother of two, are not expected to live. An older woman codes seven times before her suffering ends. The one patient who is recovering is the only one in the ward who was vaccinated.

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To the Editor:

Cops threatening to quit over vaccine mandates is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reform police departments. Let them go.

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To the Editor:

After reading guest columnist Patrick Gleason’s column in the September 7 issue of The Smoky Mountain News, I felt so relieved. CLIMATE CHANGE IS NOT REAL! THE SKY IS NOT FALLING! Wow, now I don’t have to worry about that anymore! 

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To the Editor:

The SMN does not have any comics, but some of the letters to the editor are a good substitute. The recent guest columnist (http://smokymountainnews.com/opinion/item/32092) is a great example. I suppose that Mr. Gleason also believes that the earth is flat.

Clark Pearson

Sylva

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To the Editor:

Our forefathers proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence that we have certain inalienable rights, those being the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

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To the Editor:

In his editorial, Patrick Gleason claimed that Dr. Curry’s editorial on climate change was not based on reality and that climate change was not that serious. In reality, it is Gleason who is divorced from reality.

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To the Editor:

“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” was a popular statement in George Bush’s presidency during protests against the Iraq war. Hillary and other Democrats were fond of it and the press gladly quoted them. 

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Residents of Buncombe, Haywood, and Transylvania counties who were affected by the remnants of Tropical Storm Fred from Aug. 16 – 18 may apply for FEMA disaster assistance.

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Many smaller, private bridges were damaged in Tropical Storm Fred, and homeowners are understandably anxious to get them replaced. 

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A federal jury in Asheville convicted Shane McKinley Swimmer, 21, of Cherokee, of second degree murder last week, announced William T. Stetzer, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. 

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Presented by Balsam Range, United Way of Haywood County, Town of Canton, Clyde Lions Club, Canton Lions Club and The Smoky Mountain News, “Grit & Grace: A Flood Relief Benefit for Haywood County” will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, at Sorrells Street Park in downtown Canton.

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By Scott Hinkle • Guest Columnist | Twenty years ago on September 14, I was one of only two passengers on a U.S. Airways flight from North Carolina to LaGuardia Airport in New York City to volunteer for the American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Team, assisting families with processing the deaths of their loved ones. As part of the initial team to develop a rapid death certificate response, we met in Brooklyn and planned our program for completing the official certificates of death for grieving families. 

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By Steve Wall • Guest Columnist | The place — Canton; the time — 7 a.m.; the date — September 9, 2004. 

Mayor Pat Smathers and I walked down Park Street in disbelief. Colonial Theater, Canton Medical Office, police and city offices had all flooded with up to seven feet of water from the Pigeon River. Hurricanes Ivan and Frances hit within a week and left a grim mark on Haywood County. That was 2004.

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Western Carolina University officials are waiving admission application fees for both undergraduate and graduate programs for students wanting to enter the university during spring 2022, summer 2022 and fall 2022 academic semesters.

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A man who sped in a stolen vehicle through Franklin last year in a botched attempt to evade law enforcement will spend 51 to 74 months in the N.C. Division of Adult Correction, District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch said.

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How do you have safe communication during relational conversations where defenses and triggers happen because of past hurts? How do you effectively communicate core issues instead of their symptoms?

Two men died while visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park last weekend, one due to drowning and another resulting from a motorcycle accident. 

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A Haywood Community College student earned the 2021 U.S. Rookie Champion title at the recent STIHL Timbersports U.S. Championships in Little Rock, Arkansas. 

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As floodwaters recede and cleanup continues, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services urges farmers and homeowners to evaluate pesticides and other chemical storage areas. Disposal assistance is available.

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By Milton Ready • Guest Columnist | Psst! Have you heard that remnants of Tropical Storm Fred passed over Western North Carolina last week causing extensive power outages, flash floods, several deaths, and, yes, even tornadoes. And no, it’s not just about global warming. Now which area do you think suffers more flooding, the Outer Banks, eastern North Carolina, or the mountainous area of the French Broad River Basin? 

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By Patrick Gleason • Guest Columnist | The alarmist rhetoric and proclamations found in Mary Jane Curry’s recent column published in The Mountaineer, “A Life Or Death Matter,” (Aug. 15) are certainly worrisome. The good news is that they are completely detached from reality.

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To the Editor:

Pay close attention to the following names: Darin Hoover, Rosario Pichardo, Nicole Gee, Hunter Lopez, Daegan Page, Humberto Sanchez, David Espinoza, Jared Schmitz, Rylee McCollum, Dylan Merola, Kareem Nikoui, Maxton Soviak and Ryan Knauss.

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To the Editor:

The opinion pages of the August 18 edition of your excellent paper should be required reading. 

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To the Editor:

In the Aug. 11 edition, a letter from a Franklin man was posted in both print and electronic editions of The Smoky Mountain News. In addition to false information, the writer wants to absolve the unvaccinated from any accountability about the current pandemic.

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To the Editor:

For many years I served as a Child Medical Examiner for Haywood County. I was also a founding member of KARE’s Child Abuse Task Force.

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Haywood Community College Board of Trustees chairman George Marshall recently completed eight years of service on the board. Originally appointed by the Haywood County Board of Commissioners to a four-year term in July 2013, he was then reappointed by the commissioners to serve an additional four years in July 2017. 

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A public meeting regarding improvements to U.S. 23/74 is scheduled for 4-7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 2, at the Harrell Center Auditorium at the Lake Junaluska Conference Center, 710 Lakeshore Drive. 

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In the wake of the torrential rain and flooding in Haywood County, centered in Cruso community, District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch has repeatedly issued stern warnings to looters and would-be looters.

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The Board of Directors of Canopy Realtor Association and Canopy MLS, unanimously voted Aug. 26 to donate $200,000 each, for a total of $400,000 in funds to support Haywood County flood relief efforts.

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Macon County Public Health received notification Aug. 30 that a Macon County resident between the ages of 65-74 who was diagnosed with COVID-19 passed away. This death brings Macon County to 44 deaths related to COVID-19.

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A national mask mandate is now in place across the National Park Service. 

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The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has elected Richmond County resident Monty R. Crump as its new chairman, replacing Dallas resident David W. Hoyle. 

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Celebrating the life of the late Erica Waldrop, the inaugural “YerkFest” will be held from 5 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28, at the Innovation Station and Front Street Takeout in Dillsboro. 

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The time stamp on the photo from my iPhone reads 7:29 a.m. It was Wednesday, Aug. 18, a mountain morning full of sunshine and a cool freshness that’s common after rain the day before. Turning onto Wells Road, which connects N.C. 215 and N.C. 110 in Bethel via a bridge across the Pigeon River, I got my first glimpse of the destruction that the river and the rain had wrought the previous night.

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By Mark Jaben • Guest Columnist | Two big things are happening in Haywood County this week.

First, a tremendous outpouring of help and support from people coming here in the aftermath of the devastating flood. Already, though, one member of a group has developed COVID and is hospitalized. The first rule of incident management is don’t become part of the incident; don’t contribute to the disaster. The fact is if someone gets COVID and has to isolate, or has a close contact exposure and should quarantine, they cannot do the good work they came here to do. 

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To the Editor:

Since the beginning of the pandemic I’ve heard many rationalizations to justify the decision not to get a vaccine against COVID-19. One that stands out is that this decision is a “personal choice.” 

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To the Editor:

Americans have created for themselves quite a quandary trying to interpret both the literal and the intended meaning of the First Amendment to the Constitution. That portion that states: “Congress shall make no law abridging (which means to shorten or reduce) the freedom of speech” seems now to beg the question; can the ideals of free speech and social justice be in harmony?

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To the Editor:

While I welcome the mandatory masking decision the Haywood County School Board made during its Aug. 21 emergency meeting, I’m not ready to pat them on the back and say “atta boy.” It’s shameful that it took over 100 students being quarantined after just two days of school for them to reverse their optional mask decision.

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To help relieve the burden of those affected by the catastrophic flooding that occurred in Haywood County, Harrah’s Cherokee Casinos is pledging to donate $20,000 to Helping Haywood, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to seek opportunities to help those in need in Haywood County.

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Haywood County Government urges those interested in donating time to help with relief and recovery efforts to visit recoverhaywood.com and click the "Volunteer" option at the top of the page for registration information.

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For those in need of assistance, www.recoverhaywood.com  is the best source for all information. 

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North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey has set up a Victims’ Assistance Center in Haywood County to answer questions of flood victims through the weekend.

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