SMN staff

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Dive into the fascinating world of one of the largest, fastest, most powerful falcon species at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 18, at the Folk Art Center in Asheville. 

Juneteenth Events in WNC:

Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail received its largest individual gift ever when an anonymous donor gave $100,000 to establish the MST Forever Fund. 

The Nantahala Ranger District is resuming work on two projects in Macon County whose timelines were affected by position turnover and COVID-19, with plans to combine them into a single Environmental Assessment process. 

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The 2021 Summer Learning Program at Marianna Black Library in Bryson City will celebrate all things related to books and animals this season, with a fish-centric event slated for 2 p.m. Thursday, June 17. 

A teenager is dead and two other people injured following a car crash on Monday, June 7, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

The first book of the new StoryWalk at the Cashiers Village Green, Cashiers, Come Play With Me!, will soon be installed with a dedication ceremony and family picnic planned for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 19, near the Village Play. 

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Visitor spending in national park communities during 2020 was just over two-thirds the amount spent in 2019, but parks in Western North Carolina were spared that drop, according to a new report from the National Park Service. Together, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway accounted for more than 10% of visits to national park units in 2020. 

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A portion of the Black Mountain Trail on the Pisgah Ranger District will be closed through approximately Aug. 15 for maintenance. 

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Friends of DuPont Forest’s new Share the Trails Campaign aims to help visitors share and care for the forest’s 80-plus miles of trail this summer and beyond. 

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The Pic’ & Play Mountain Dulcimer Players will be resuming in-person jam sessions at the St. John’s Episcopal Church basement fellowship hall in Sylva.

Come celebrate summer in your flip flops, shorts and favorite beachwear as the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce welcomes Steve Weams & The Caribbean Cowboys to perform for “Beach Night” from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 19, at Bridge Park in Sylva. 

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Showcasing Cherokee and Scottish heritage in Western North Carolina, the Cherokee/Scottish festival will be held June 17-19, around downtown Franklin.

Lake Junaluska’s Summer Activities Program, which offers free and low-cost activities that celebrate faith, recreation, arts and education, kicks off the season on Thursday, June 24, with an outdoor concert by the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus. 

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By Sandra Hayes • Guest Columnist | I volunteer with QuickDraw of WNC, an art auction where artists step up to help put supplies on classroom shelves in our public schools. We’re raising money right now.

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To the Editor:

As North Carolina faces an economic crisis amidst a pandemic, our community colleges will be key to recovery efforts. 

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To the Editor:

The following is a letter I wrote to Senator Thom Tillis, R-N.C.

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 The “Unto These Hills” stage production will be held at 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday through Aug. 14 at the Mountainside Theater in Cherokee. There will also be a 10:30 a.m. show on Saturday, June 26, and all Saturdays in July.

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The Taste of Scotland celebration of the Ceilidh will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 19, at The Rathskeller in Franklin.

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QuickDraw, a local art initiative that funds art supplies in rural Western North Carolina schools, is selling art for education online now through June 30. The fundraiser presents art to buy or bid on, and a giveaway basket opportunity for donors.

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The Haywood Arts Regional Theatre will present “Billy Goat Gruff” as their first outdoor musical June 18 through July 4.

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A National Park Foundation grant will fund outdoor field trips for kids in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

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The most recent round of Pigeon River Fund Grant Awards distributed through the Community Foundation for Western North Carolina will provide $236,250 for water quality projects in Haywood, Buncombe and Madison counties. 

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The pool at Lake Junaluska is now open for the season, and 2021 passes offering pool admission and special discounts at Lake Junaluska though Labor Day are on sale. 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash was named the winner of the 2021 Agency Leadership Award from the Public Lands Alliance during a virtual conference May 24.

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Friends of the Smokies will host the third annual Smokies Cup Tournament at the Biltmore Sporting Clays Club Sept. 16-17 this year. 

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To the Editor:

As an occasional writer of letters to the editor I sometimes receive feedback, mostly positive but sometimes negative or dismissive. Most of the time I don’t hear anything, which causes me to wonder if I was just speaking to the void. I was very surprised then to see my name at the beginning of a guest column, no less. I am, therefore, gratified that people are indeed paying attention.

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The Folk Art Center in Asheville has opened its Main Gallery exhibition showcasing the Graduating Class of 2021 of Haywood Community College’s Professional Crafts Program. 

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Presented by “Kids at HART,” a production of “Sister Act Jr.” will hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. June 12 and 19, and at 2 p.m. June 13 and 20 at the Haywood Arts Regional Theatre in Waynesville. 

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With vaccinations underway and COVID-19 restrictions easing, April home sales rose 48.8 percent year-over-year with 1,138 homes sold across the Asheville region. 

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From mild to wild, paddlers can find whatever kind of river experience they’re looking for in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

Why do we seek the high places? The easiest explanation for going to the mountains is for the scenery. Even so, there must be something ingrained in the human experience that draws us to lofty summits and places where we can look out over the landscape. The reasons vary from the practical to the spiritual.

To the Editor:

In a recent letter to The Smoky Mountain News a retired military man stated, “Among all the other abhorrent and anti-American acts Comrade Beijing Biden and his cabal are perpetrating is endeavoring to take all firearms away from law-abiding Americans.” Later in his letter he refers to “… this unprecedented act.”

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To the Editor:

Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) was removed from her leadership position in the Republican Party for only one reason — she stood firm in telling the truth. Allow that to sink in. Rep. Cheney (daughter of former VP Dick Cheney) courageously stood, nearly alone, against party leaders whose destructive lies endanger our republic. “Remaining silent, ignoring the lies, denying the truth, only emboldens the liars,” she said.

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Help win a regional competition to crown the 2021 champion of biodiversity by logging your outdoor observations on the iNaturalist app from June 5-19. 

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The Bluffs Restaurant at Doughton Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway will reopen under new management on Thursday, May 27. 

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The Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s long-time Facility Management Division chief has been named as the park’s new deputy superintendent. 

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Nantahala Outdoor Center is open for its 50th season, with new venues, courses and events in 2021. 

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MountainTrue has launched a new service that offers up-to-date water quality results for more than 65 popular recreation areas in Western North Carolina, northeastern Tennessee and Towns and Union counties in Georgia. 

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The “An Appalachian Evening” series will return to the Stecoah Valley Center in Robbinsville. 

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Artisans, crafters and food vendors are invited to submit their application for the Greening Up the Mountains festival, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28, in downtown Sylva.

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The exhibit “Inspiration: The Creative Muse at Work” will run June 4-26 at the Haywood County Arts Council in downtown Waynesville.

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The North Carolina Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council announced that Swain County Middle School was awarded a NC Schools Go Outside Grant of $13,789. 

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Haywood Community College Foundation’s Tuition Free Guarantee Scholarship is sometimes the deciding factor for Haywood County seniors when deciding where to go to college. 

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A chronic wasting disease case confirmed May 12 in Virginia occurred just 33 miles from the North Carolina counties of Surry and Stokes. 

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This spring, 17 physical education teachers from Haywood, Jackson, Swain and Macon counties joined the Western Carolina University Project Discovery Talent Search staff for training in a curriculum that aims to help children be more healthy and active. 

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Rehabilitation of the Abrams Falls Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is now underway after kicking off May 10. 

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Base Camp on the Go is back at Waynesville Parks and Recreation. 

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