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During COVID-19, Haywood County Schools’ employees have gone above and beyond to support the community and encourage learning during the Coronavirus Pandemic. This began with meal deliveries to students and the community. When the state allowed students to return to in-person schooling, Haywood County Schools opened its doors five days a week for rotational or daily attendance. Haywood County Schools have been very safe with limited clusters, strong academic and extra-curricular performance.

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The Highlands Biological Foundation’s brand-new signature event is just around the corner.

Discover Life in America will host its annual Great Smoky Mountains Salamander Ball on Wheels from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, at Parkway Drive-In Theater in Maryville, Tennessee. 

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Join a team of park-loving people for weekend “work-togethers” each Saturday through Nov. 20 in the great outdoors of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

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More than 1 million lights will be shining at the North Carolina Arboretum’s annual Winter Lights event, which will take place from Nov. 19 through Jan. 1. 

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Help determine the future of a unique and precious cultural resource in downtown Franklin by taking an online survey hosted by the Nikwasi Initiative. 

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Allison Richmond • Guest Columnist | Haywood County is struggling to cope with a very unusual situation, two separate states of emergency happening at the same time. A month and a half ago, historic flooding brought loss and anguish to our community, and while that is devastation enough, for nearly two years now COVID-19 has threatened the health of every one of us.

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To the Editor:

Right now, politicians in the North Carolina General Assembly are dividing North Carolina into new legislative and congressional districts that could determine who represents us for the next decade. 

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To the Editor:

Promoting and voting our true family interests can unify and rejuvenate this country. But we have become mired in media-driven divisiveness. 

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To the Editor:

He, or they, all seem to be confused about facts, or what they believe to be true. They get their information from ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, MSNBC, The New York Times and the Washington Post. All are liberal, biased and should be taken with a grain of salt. Meaning there are some truths, and some twisted facts.

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In the last week, Haywood County Public Health has received notice of 176 new cases of COVID-19, which is down from previous weeks. 

By Tom Fiedler • Asheville Watchdog | For the second time in as many months, Rep. Madison Cawthorn faces a potential criminal complaint for carrying a weapon — in the latest incident, a “combat” automatic knife similar to a switchblade — in a public school building.  

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Steve Heatherly left his position as CEO of Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital on Oct. 7 to pursue another opportunity. 

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La Agencia Federal para el Manejo de Emergencias (FEMA, por sus siglas en inglés) se compromete a ayudar a todos los sobrevivientes de desastre elegibles a recuperarse de la tormenta tropical Fred, incluyendo los ciudadanos estadounidenses, los nacionales no ciudadanos y los extranjeros cualificados.

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Featuring Balsam Range, Unspoken Tradition and The Kruger Brothers, the Smoky Mountain Bluegrass Festival will take place Saturday, Oct. 23, at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds.

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Country megastar Clint Black will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin.

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The 25th annual PumpkinFest will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, in downtown Franklin.

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The annual Leaf Lookers Gemboree will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 22-24 at the Macon County Community Building just south of Franklin along U.S. Highway 441. 

The Haywood County Arts Council has announced an open call for work for the upcoming Small Works Exhibit, which will kick off with an opening reception on Friday, Nov. 12, at the HCAC Gallery & Gifts showroom in downtown Waynesville. 

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This year’s Big Sweep event in Haywood County removed a whopping 3,100 pounds of trash from county streams with the help of a record 62 volunteers. 

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Get a peek into current research efforts regarding African American history in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park during a pair of upcoming virtual events offered Thursday, Oct. 14, and Friday, Oct. 22. 

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Fossilized footprints found in New Mexico’ White Sands National Park have revealed evidence of human occupation there beginning 23,000 years ago, thousands of years earlier than previously thought. 

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In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Benton MacKaye’s famous essay that birthed the Appalachian Trail, the Benton MacKaye Trail Association is offering an October Hike Fest Schedule to include 22 of the BMT’s best hikes. 

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Submissions are now being taken for the 2021 edition of the Milestone, the biennial art and literary review published by Southwestern Community College.

Marshall native and country music performer Ricky Gunter walked away from the Country Tonite Theater in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, on Sept. 17, with two big awards. 

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When the Haywood Arts Regional Theatre (HART) in Waynesville needed a custom-painted portrait of an actor with his six-foot invisible rabbit friend, local painter Barbara Brook hopped to the task. 

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Presented by the Haywood County Arts Council (HCAC), the exhibit “Bear, Elk, Trout — Oh My!” will run through Oct. 30 at the HCAC in downtown Waynesville. 

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To the Editor:

One can find treasures in the most improbable places. For me, the Letters to the Editor captures the flavor, thought, and concern of local residents. Whatever the tenor, whether amusing, strident, or irreverent, the letters offer the spectrum of current concerns. There is seldom universal agreement, but the crux of the matter is that opinions are not just possible, they are encouraged.

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To the Editor:

Republicans keep claiming that Democrats are destroying the country. They use emotionally laden words like “socialism” and “communism” in ways that are ridiculous and silly.

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To the Editor:

The anti-abortion law enacted by Texas appears strong and worrisome. But, is it really strong? This major question lingers: where will the “bounty money” come from?

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Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital are taking a stand against breast cancer. All women — mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, grandmothers and friends — should know their risk, recognize the signs and symptoms and understand the importance of self-checks and early detection. 

By Allison Johnson • MD, Surgeon, Haywood Breast Center | According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the U.S., behind only skin cancers. In fact, the ACS puts the average risk as a one in eight chance that a woman will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.

Municipal elections in Western North Carolina will be held in some jurisdictions on Tuesday, November 2, but in-person early voting will take place beginning Thursday, Oct. 14.

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Macon County Public Health will delay plans to begin giving COVID-19 boosters to eligible persons due to a number of COVID-19 positive staff. 

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Fall is an exciting, beautiful season in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Below is a roundup of some of the big events going on in the region. 

Two Haywood County water treatment plants were among the 13 North Carolina facilities recognized with the Gold Star honor for systems that have surpassed federal and state drinking water standards for 10 consecutive years. 

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Help celebrate the grand re-opening of the Haywood Community College disc golf course with a two-round tournament starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, in Clyde. 

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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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