Living Through A Pandemic — Year One

Think back to 2019. Back when things were normal. Back when masks were only for Halloween, or for bank robbers. Back when social distancing was mostly for people who’d recently eaten ramps. Back when the biggest story in Western North Carolina was about a congressman who decided not to seek re-election. 

When the job can’t stop: Trash collection picked up during the pandemic

When meetings moved to Zoom and schools shut down last March, Zach Sorrells kept on reporting to work. As a maintenance worker with the Town of Sylva, he’s responsible for jobs that simply must get done, pandemic or no — like trash collection, for instance.

‘My place in life’: Nursing student finds peace in COVID-19 response

For Malcom Skinner, the pandemic was not a pause, but rather a call to action. 

“I’ve been trained up to this moment,” he said. 

Using humor, finding purpose during a pandemic

Many people in the high-risk category for COVID-19 began isolating themselves at home last March to wait out the pandemic, but not Virginia Wall. 

Embracing solitude: Retiree finds peace in yearlong quarantine

In the pre-pandemic world, life was a constant swirl of activity for Lynn Jones and her husband. 

School through a screen: Cherokee immersion teacher navigates pandemic

Katlin Roberts was making coronavirus contingency plans before most people in the United States had even really heard of COVID-19. By February, she’d grown concerned enough to walk into her principal’s office and ask what would happen if the disease spread to Cherokee. They’d take precautions, she was told, but certainly wouldn’t send students home. 

Unusual COVID case wreaks havoc on Macon EMT

It’s not easy to slow Wendy Barker down. She’s been an EMT for 15 years. She’s used to working 24 hour shifts under some of the most stressful and strenuous conditions, so she wasn’t ready for COVID-19 to put her out of commission for more than six weeks. 

Silver Bluff administrator looks back on 2020

Lisa Leatherwood, Administrator at Silver Bluff Village, has had a unique perspective of the mayhem that is the COVID-19 pandemic — health care worker, nursing home administrator, mother. 

Biden’s American Rescue Plan means millions for NC local governments

While most Americans are looking forward to receiving the $1,400 payments included in President Joe Biden’s $1.88 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP) passed by Congress on March 6, counties and towns across the country are also eagerly awaiting a stimulus package of their own.

COVID cases plunge as vaccine availability increases

Coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations are falling sharply around the region as vaccine coverage improves, providing a longed-for surge of optimism on the way out of a deadly and depressing winter season. 

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