Keep hope alive in the new year

In February 2020, I was in New York City attending a children’s book writing conference. My boyfriend attended the conference with me. We both remember watching CNN while in New York as the journalists talked about a new mysterious virus attacking China but also making its way into other parts of the world. The feeling we had was ominous. It’s no secret that we’re all globally connected. We knew the germ would infiltrate America. We just didn’t know what that would mean. 

Fake News Freakout! Five

By Cory Vaillancourt • Fake News Editor | When I started writing this yearly feature five years ago, it was intended to highlight the then-emerging phenomenon now known as fake news. I thought that 2016 column would be a one-off, a satisfying way to blow off some steam and play with some local news stories in the same fashion as revered satirical outlet The Onion. 

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. 

Waynesville passes State of Emergency ordinance

A routine update to the Town of Waynesville’s State of Emergency ordinance finally passed on Dec. 8 after being tabled for weeks due to an uproar among anti-mask citizens who embarked on a marathon series of public comment sessions in fear that the town was also planning to enact a mandatory mask-wearing edict.

With sales tax strong, Jackson considers budget increase

The 2020-2021 budget Jackson County passed in June was a slimmed-down plan adopted in reaction to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis — but commissioners approved it with the understanding that some dollars could be added back in later depending on how finances looked come January.

‘Darkest before the dawn’: Sylva doctor contracts COVID amid rising cases, hospitalizations

It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and Sylva resident Ben Guiney was spending the morning decorating the Christmas tree with his wife and daughter, pondering the possibility of a mountain bike ride to take advantage of the unseasonably warm day. 

COVID-19 vaccine begins to roll out

The first COVID-19 vaccines have already been administered overseas as FDA approval is still underway in the U.S. 

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. 

Two COVID-19 deaths reported in Haywood nursing home

Two people have died related to a COVID-19 outbreak at Maggie Valley Nursing Home and Rehabilitation, bringing Haywood County’s total COVID-19 death toll to 42.

Thank you, pandemic, for slowing me down

The pandemic forced me to slow down. I’ve always been a busy body, planning trips or parties, purchasing tickets for concerts or making reservations at a favorite restaurant. But with events canceled and social distancing a must, 2020 has been a very different year. 

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