Divisive politics isn’t the only way
Does the American political divide have to divide friends? Families? Communities? Or is there an alternative approach?
Word from the Smokies: Parks as Classrooms offers unforgettable experiences
Courtney Lix grew up entwined in the natural and cultural history of Great Smoky Mountains National Park like a vine climbing up an ancient tree. Her grandfather, Henry Lix, was a park service employee who came to the Smokies to work as a naturalist in 1951. By 1953, he had founded the Great Smoky Mountains Natural History Association (today Great Smoky Mountains Association) in order to enhance visitor understanding of the many remarkable attributes of the Smokies.
A subtle eclipse, a reminder of what we’ve lost
As Lori and I walked our dog through the roads in our subdivision this morning before sunrise, Election Day, we hoped for no fog and no clouds so we could witness the lunar eclipse. It was indeed crystal clear, the stars were out, and for most of the walk we watched as the Earth’s shadow slowly moved across the full moon near the western horizon. It’s a subtle celestial show, the darker orange/yellow slowly covering the brighter yellow/white. Otherworldly.
Older generations are failing the young
Did you know a family in Denmark uses, on average, four single-use grocery bags per year while American families use one per day?
Democracy is not a given, especially now
The delegates had spent a sweltering Philadelphia summer behind sealed doors and windows debating and drafting a constitution for what would become the United States of America. Asked what they had to show for it, Benjamin Franklin famously replied, “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.”
The rise of the unaffiliated voter
Early voting has started. In North Carolina and across the nation there are many close races that will likely be decided by just a few percentage points. That means the swing voters — those who don’t vote a straight party ticket but instead vote for the candidate based on their qualifications or perhaps even their personality — could very well be the difference in those tight races.
Into the woods on my 43rd birthday
The sound of falling leaves crunched under our feet as we searched for the white blazes along the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Our dog, Ringo, happily followed along, thrilled to be out of the house and into the woods.
Keeping politics out of public schools
Education and public schools have never been completely immune from the shifting winds of politics, but events of the last few years have created a new level of interest among voters that — in most cases — is unprecedented.
Inspired by Haywood’s assistant superintendent
The cool thing about elementary students is they still get excited about the events and activities going on at their school. Once they roll into junior high the hormonal indifference sets in and even if they are thrilled about something, it’s hidden behind a veil of adolescent angst.
Finding real news is just not that hard
National Public Lands Day dawned crisp and cool Saturday, Sept. 24, a celebration of everything most beloved about fall in Western North Carolina — sunrise pinks and oranges streaking the skies above the ridgeline; clear, dry air carrying an invigorating early-morning chill; bright sunshine focusing the world beneath warm rays as the sky brightened, revealing mountainsides tinged with hints of red and yellow, rogue branches overly eager for the autumnal wardrobe change.