What Covid taught us about infrastructure

By Peter Nieckarz • Guest Columnist | We seem to be collectively breathing a sigh of relief as the COVID-19 vaccine continues to roll out and we move towards a post pandemic state of “normalcy.” While we are grateful to be taking our masks off and gathering with friends and loved ones, it is likely that we will not return to the normalcy we knew before the pandemic.  

Our epic RV adventure

This week’s column comes to you from a campground picnic table in Hershey, Pennsylvania. My boyfriend and I are on a weeklong RV adventure with our cumulative seven children. In January, we decided against a yearly beach trip and instead created a plan to visit three different amusement parks via giant recreational vehicle. 

Chickens make a stand despite our efforts

Five chickens appeared one bright summer morning in our driveway. I was still half asleep, stumbling through my morning routine of grinding and brewing the coffee, and then stepping out onto the front porch to water the fuchsias in matching hanging baskets on either side of the front steps. 

Grateful for tribes

Everyone needs a tribe, and sometimes we need more than one. 

Let’s talk about all the visitors

In the middle of the tourism season, is there any way to politely state the obvious: this region is being overrun by visitors.

A shared space, a shared responsibility

By Casey Quarterman • Guest Columnist | For six years I have been working as a Wilderness Ranger in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. I devote my time, blood, sweat and energy into keeping wild places as wild and natural as possible. 

Let them be your crystal ball

Years ago during a teeth cleaning, an older dental hygienist offered some advice. She told me to let other people be my crystal ball — to observe their lives and learn from their mistakes, and to also note their successes and triumphs. Doing this would save valuable time.

Summer nights: baseball, dogs and workout prep

There are three dogs in this bed: a very old miniature dachshund curled up on one corner, a very young miniature dachshund attached to my hip like a pistol, his head under the blanket but his feet sticking out and pointing skyward like the Wicked Witch of the East, and, finally, an asthmatic chihuahua perched on the pillow behind my head, rasping in my ear like a chain smoker asking for a light. 

Waynesville attorney didn’t deserve firing

The Waynesville town attorney serves at the pleasure of the board. Elected officials can fire or terminate him for any reason they see fit.

A warrior faces second double lung transplant

By Maureen Miller • Guest Columnist | “Someone has to die in order for you to live.” The startling realization hit me, and my words hung in the air. She nodded. Unlike me, this fact wasn’t new to her, and I feared my comment was offensive.

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